Reforestation is the natural or intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, usually through deforestation, which includes human interference, natural wildfires, and in more recent times, climate change-induced wildfires. The world’s forest cover has been shrinking for centuries, but the pace of loss has increased sharply in recent decades. The most important reason for reforestation is to preserve our environment by balancing out carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Forests are also a vital part of our ecosystem, providing habitats for many species and regulating water cycles. The benefits of reforestation are not just limited to wildlife - humans also benefit.
Why Does Biodiversity Matter?
Earth’s biodiversity is an inestimable and vital resource; it gives us what we most require: food, water, numerous modern medicines, and air. The universe is filled with planets rich in minerals and of great monetary value here on earth, but none have what it takes to support human life. Our survival is determined by the earth’s biodiversity, a fact constantly repeated at both a macro and microscopic scale. Without plants and trees, we would be without oxygen, and without bees, a lot of our crops would disappear. It gets even more rudimentary – the benefits of biodiversity. For instance, the hardwood trees found in our rainforests that are most effective at serving as above-ground carbons sinks are the result of the relationship between the seeds and the fruit-eating mammals that consume them. The likelihood of a tree germinating is up to five hundred times greater when the seed has first made its way through the digestive system of a monkey, bat, or elephant.
The biodiversity of our soil, which operates on a microscopic level, creates the chemical conditions required for healthy, bountiful, and continuous crops. Cancer-fighting fungi and pain-reducing tree resins are just some of the many new medicines being discovered in nature. From an economical perspective the planet’s biodiversity, in other words, the services it provides, are estimated at double the global annual GDP. Such estimation is up for debate and hard to calculate as the services rendered to us cannot be duplicated by human technology.
How Big Is The Threat To Biodiversity?
As it stands, the future of biodiversity is bleak. An international coalition of scientists at the United Nations in a recent report concluded that we stand to lose more than a million known species – which is one species in eight. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the populations of individual species have decreased. The population of migratory birds is estimated to have fallen by roughly 70% while tigers have lost a tragic 97% of their population. In only a few decades, we’ve managed to completely upset the natural balance of the planet’s biodiversity – the biomass of humans and livestock equates twenty-four times more than all other wild mammals.
Of all the threats facing biodiversity, the most formidable one is habitat loss tied to food production for both land and sea. For biodiversity to flourish, there needs to be space and that space needs to provide a home to every animal, and that home is the wilderness. When we clear forests and remove wetlands for industrial needs, we destroy something that humans and animals need to survive. The loss of biodiversity has a ripple effect and one which attacks our livelihoods on multiple fronts. It lessens our ability to fight climate change, have access to clean and plentiful water, grow sustainable and healthy crops, avert pandemics and essentially, plan for a generational future.
What Can We Do To Protect Biodiversity?
A lot of it comes down to space and the setting aside thereof. To combat climate change and curtail and hopefully end the extinction crises requires enough space for nature to nurture healthy biodiversity. In terms of space, this translates into half – protecting at least half the planet’s land and seas. Scientists have concluded that if this is done by 2030, then the worst can be averted – in terms of the climate and extinction emergencies. It should be noted that in some cases, more than half is needed, and this applies to fragile ecosystems such as rainforests that require up to 80% to be protected. Protecting the planet on a scale like this is a massive task, but it also presents a historic opportunity for people to transform their relationship with nature. If half the entire planet needs to be protected, then every country, region, community, and individual must pitch in and be on the frontline of conservation.
The challenge here is that while we need biodiversity, many people still don’t know about the crucial importance of wildlands and forests and the multitude of species and vital living organisms that they support. The challenge is further exacerbated by a multitude of factors which can be compacted into modern-day living, technology, and entrenched forms of industry, which themselves account for millions of jobs and thus livelihoods. How do we as a species simply decide to realistically conserve half of the planet with immediate effect? We cannot, but we can chip away at the problem, and maybe as time goes by and our efforts start to bear fruit, it can drive the change that’s needed before it’s all too late.
Chip Away at the Problem With Reforestation & One Tree Planted
Here at Cambridge Mask Co, the health of the planet has always been at the forefront of our efforts. A few years ago, our founder realised the real problem posed to the citizens of the earth by the very real danger of poor air quality. The WHO confirmed this reality when it revealed that 99% of the world breathes air that does not conform to WHO guidelines. When we made the Cambridge Mask, we did it from a caring point of view for both the user and the environment. For the user, the mask filters over 99% of air pollution, viruses, and bacteria. In terms of the environment, due to the reusability of the mask, it can replace up to 170 single-use plastic masks and stop 4kg’s of plastic waste from entering landfills and oceans.
Due to the sustainable outcomes of our products, we knew we could do more and that we could get people to do more. This is why we partnered up with One Tree Planted, a global non-profit reforestation tree planting charity. Unlike many other tree-planting organisations, One Tree Planted studies the areas it reforests and plants according to the biodiversity of the area, thereby bringing about a higher success rate. Right now, a dramatic change is impossible, but small changes are possible, and if those small changes are done in unison, they then become big changes. Reforestation is one of the most effective ways to offset the effects of climate change and you can be a part of it. By buying a Cambridge Mask PRO at full price, One Tree Planted will put a biodiversity-friendly seed into the ground on your behalf. Buy another PRO mask, and it happens again. Get your friend to buy a PRO mask, and the action repeats itself. Let’s chip away at the problem with reforestation and One Tree Planted.