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Three billion new trees in the EU’s biodiversity strategy: low ambition, but better environmental outcomes?

Lee, Heera 1; Pugh, Thomas A. M.; Patacca, Marco; Seo, Bumsuk 1; Winkler, Karina ORCID iD icon 1; Rounsevell, Mark ORCID iD icon 1
1 Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung – Atmosphärische Umweltforschung (IMK-IFU), Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)


The EU Biodiversity strategy aims to plant 3 billion trees by 2030, in order to improve ecosystem restoration and biodiversity. Here, we compute the land area that would be required to support this number of newly planted trees by taking account of different tree species and planting regimes across the EU member states. We find that 3 billion trees would require a total land area of between 0.81 and 1.37 Mha (avg. 1.02 Mha). The historic forest expansion in the EU since 2010 was 2.44 Mha, meaning that despite 3 billion trees sounding like a large number this target is considerably lower than historic afforestation rates within the EU, i.e. only 40% of the past trend. Abandoned agricultural land is often proposed as providing capacity for afforestation. We estimate agricultural abandoned land areas from the HIstoric Land Dynamics Assessment+ database using two time thresholds (abandonment since 2009 or 2014) to identify potential areas for tree planting. The area of agricultural abandoned land was 2.6 Mha (potentially accommodating 7.2 billion trees) since 2009 and 0.2 Mha (potentially accommodating 741 million trees) since 2014. Our study highlights that sufficient space could be available to meet the 3 billion tree planting target from abandoned land. ... mehr

Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000156911
Veröffentlicht am 16.03.2023
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/acb95c
Zitationen: 6
Web of Science
Zitationen: 5
Zitationen: 6
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Meteorologie und Klimaforschung – Atmosphärische Umweltforschung (IMK-IFU)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsmonat/-jahr 03.2023
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 1748-9318, 1748-9326
KITopen-ID: 1000156911
HGF-Programm 12.11.21 (POF IV, LK 01) Natural ecosystems as sources and sinks of GHGs
Erschienen in Environmental Research Letters
Verlag Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOP Publishing Ltd)
Band 18
Heft 3
Seiten Art.-Nr.: 034020
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 24.02.2023
Schlagwörter afforestation, EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030, abandoned land
Nachgewiesen in Dimensions
Web of Science
Globale Ziele für nachhaltige Entwicklung Ziel 15 – Leben an Land
KIT – Die Forschungsuniversität in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
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