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Reforesting Resulting in Cooler Temperatures: A Good Starting Point

A press release on the efficacy of reforestation in the Eastern United States has revealed that the temperatures in reforested areas were up to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than unforested. This is an interesting finding in this study and may bring some interesting implications with it. I believe that this is a very good starting point for the United States. Reforesting appears to be a worthwhile effort and will bring more long-term benefits. With higher temperatures on average across the board, having forested areas in the right places can make a huge difference. This brings a question of where we should go from here. 


Reforestation would involve the rehabilitation of old-growth forests. This can be done in many ways but the most important factor is in choosing the place to reforest. If done in the wrong areas, planting more trees can actually raise temperatures. Reforesting in temperate areas is the key to getting the greatest cooling effect. One strategic way of ensuring effective reforestation is by directing efforts to areas in the Western United States that have been the worst affected by wildfires, which are already underway. 


One important thing of note is how many reforesting projects have already been in progress around the United States. Trees take a long time to grow, which serves as the main drawback to reforesting.​​​​​ This makes it all the more important and good that many of the reforesting projects have been ongoing for years. The United States used to be covered with old-growth forests. These forests take time to rehabilitate as the name suggests. 


On the other side, there are many issues with reforestation. As mentioned before, reforestation projects in the wrong areas may work to raise average temperatures. A major problem with reforesting is how many projects fail due to the lack of post-planting care. Many of the projects will plant tree seedlings and not provide care for them, which results in most of those seedlings dying. The resources needed to provide adequate care post-planting can be very expensive and at times unviable. Reforesting may also work to strain the water reserves of the area. If the project is being undertaken in a drier area, it can drain all the water in the area.


These challenges of reforestation can be avoided by strategically choosing the location. In choosing the best area, the seedlings will be able to grow at a high efficiency and concerns over water usage would not be pressing. The results of the Eastern US reforestation efforts have shown the potential viability of reforestation in stabilizing weather patterns.


Acknowledgment: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.

3 Comments


This is a very important initiative, but it also shows the drawbacks of electoral system politics and profit-driven motives. Both create the necessities for the state-run and private initiatives to prioritize short-term growth instead of long-term projects. Perhaps we need better education like this article to help people understand the importance.

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Completely agree - while reforestation is undeniably great, it needs to be done carefully. If we are going to put in the effort to plant tree seedlings, the effort needs to last and the resources need to be available to properly care for trees after. It will be interesting to see how this picks up and what it ends up doing for the environment.

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Great piece Max! Like you said, reforestation takes time and needs to be done in specifics areas. The results are worth it though! The roots of strong trees can help reduce shoreline erosion, purify the air and reduce temperature like you mentioned. Our dependance to wood material though is still concerning and may harm the reforestation process.

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