When people saw forest fires in California or trees coming down for new buildings, the initial reaction was to replant trees for new growth, but some scientists say doing nothing may be the better option.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that originally forests covered about 45% of the earth’s landmasses, but now forests only cover about 31% of the earth’s land.
The World Wildlife Fund states that forests are disappearing at the rate of 46 to 58 million square miles annually, which is equivalent to 36 football fields per minute.
Scientists in a U.K. group called Rewilding Britain say the best way to help rebuild our forests is to do nothing at all, and the best and most diverse forests plant themselves.
The group’s chief executive, Rebecca Wrigley, says letting trees naturally regenerate on a big scale is the most effective way of reversing the sorry fortunes of crippled forests and woodlands.
Scientists do recognize that there are some situations where forests are too far gone for natural re-growth, but that’s where native tree seeds can be sown into the ground.
The group says other ways we can help our forests is by pushing governments to set aside land for re-growth and protect ancient woodlands. Whether we plant or let nature take its course is up to us, the group says.