Alun Salt in Botany One:
There’s more recognition that ecological restoration can be an essential tool in fighting climate change, and there are many projects aimed at restoring degraded forests to capture carbon. Still, the focus on forests ignores much of the land in the tropics that would not naturally be forested. A team of scientists is arguing that people need to become aware of other habitats and their value.
There’s increased understanding that not only do we need to cut carbon dioxide emissions, we also need to pull it from the atmosphere. Recently trees have come into fashion as the answer. This need has led to the Trillion Tree Campaign and a company in the UK planting giant redwoods to offset a lifetime’s carbon on the basis that “planting native trees to combat climate change is a little like bringing a water pistol to a gun fight.” Ecologists working outside forests could feel a little neglected. Research recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology by Fernando A. O. Silveira and colleagues showed that they’d be right. And it’s not just the public that is fixating on trees. The study shows that scientists and policymakers are focussing disproportionately on trees too. This problem, which they label Biome Awareness Disparity or BAD, could have consequences for conservation in the future.