Editorial Feature

Reforesting Earth's Two Billion Hectares of Degraded Land

Land Life Company has developed technology to help reforest degraded land across the world and tackle the carbon emissions crisis. Image Credit: lovelyday12/Shutterstock.com

The latest data has uncovered that there is potentially an excess of six billion hectares of land on the planet that could be used to plant trees and vegetation to tackle big global issues such as carbon emissions, the looming food crisis, and damaged ecosystems.

Of the six billion usable hectares of land, two billion have fallen victim to the consequences of human activities, including deforestation, abandoned agricultural efforts, pollution from varying sources, burning fossil fuels, exponential population growth and urbanization, as well as forest fires. There is very little hope of growing substantial life on degraded land without assistance.

There are two billion hectares of spoiled land that, if fixed, could support a large-scale reforestation effort that will help to lower carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere as well as support a whole ecosystem of plant and animal species.

There is currently a lack of large-scale efforts to recover the nature lost on this land, but Jurriaan Ruys plans to change that. Hes established a company called Land Life with the mission to restore life on the two billion hectares of degraded land. To do this, Ruys and his team have developed innovative technology that will provide a fail-safe method of reforestation that can be used in different locations around the world.

The potential impact of the reforestation project is huge. Two billion hectares equates to the combined land sizes of the US and China. Scientists estimate that repopulating an area this size with trees could remove two-thirds of the emissions that currently remain in the atmosphere due to human activities. Given that we are in a time when tackling climate crisis has become a global priority, these estimates demonstrate the vital role that Land Lifes activities could play in reversing the effects of climate change.

The technology that has been developed by Land Life has already had an impact on the Clean Technology sector. The company has recently been recognized by the Cleantech Groups 50 to Watch list, which identifies key emerging technologies and business models that have the potential to profoundly impact human life on the planet.

Tackling the Emissions Crisis with a Global Reforestation Project

Jurriaan Ruyss Land Life Company aims to reforest the worlds degraded land. Ruys has created a business model to put nature back in the places where human activity has made life impossible, and it plans to do this on a global scale.

The reforestation project will not only plant trees to reduce emissions that are already in the atmosphere, but it will also enable companies to utilize its resources for a carbon offset, compensating for the emissions the company generates through its business processes by planting trees to offset its impact.

Video Source: Land Life Company/YouTube.com

Large-Scale Reforestation Technology

Land Lifes business model has recognized that technology is fundamental to a successful large-scale reforestation project. Planting trees without the aid of technology leaves the project vulnerable to failures, which are costly in time and resources. Given that the project aims to plant trees on degraded land, the potential setbacks to achieving successful reforestation are substantial, with the arid land and harsh conditions presenting major barriers.

To address this, Ruyss company established new technologies into a technology-focused plan that they believe guarantees the success of the reforestation project. The suite of technology they have created includes GPS-led drills and automated planting systems that work alongside local teams who are trained by Land Life to use high-tech planting technologies. The use of technology not only increases the planting efficiency and success, but it also reduces the cost of reforestation, making it more accessible on a large-scale.

At the beginning of any project, the team assesses the land to be planted on. To do this, they analyze images from drones and satellites, and assess data from climatic and soil samples. The team also gains information from local landowners to offer a full picture of the land they are working on, enabling them to design a bespoke plan for recovering the land. The team then uses cutting-edge agricultural technologies to plant the trees, relying on the precise data collected from drones and satellites to indicate where the trees should be planted.

Factors such as land slope, rainwater runoff, exposition and soil type are all taken into consideration, and without the help of digital technologies, this would not be achievable with such fine-grain precision. The team is then able to decide on the optimal locations for the trees to be able to thrive.

One essential piece of technology Land Life has innovated for use in the reforestation project is the Cocoon. It was created to enhance the chance of a planted seedling making it to a fully grown tree. Over the first year after planting, the device waters and shelters the seedling. It also stimulates it to develop healthy, deep root structures. By using the Cocoon, trees dont have to rely on external irrigation and are better positioned to survive difficult conditions. Testing has shown that between 75% and 95% of seedlings planted with the Cocoon survive.

Furthermore, on-ground technologies continue to support the trees as they grow, collecting and analyzing data from remote sensors, and applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to enable faster and more efficient reforestation.

The Impact of Reforesting Degraded Land

Land Life measures the impact of its work by collecting data on several hectares restored from the deforestation caused by human activity. The company also records the amount of carbon dioxide captured, the number of trees planted, effect on water balances, as well as what social impact the project has had on local communities.

The communities where the projects take place are often disadvantaged because degraded land is rarely populated by rich communities. Other than having a significant impact on tackling climate change, the model that Land Life has established is helping to progress ecological socialism, which promotes equality of access to nature between different socio-economic groups.

Living close to degraded land can have profound negative influences. It is detrimental to happiness and is even related to civil war and migration. Therefore, bringing life back to these lands is likely to have a wider impact on human life as well as on the reduction of carbon emissions.

The preliminary data suggests that forest restoration is likely to be the worlds best hope at reversing the impact of climate change. However, the efforts of the project will take between 50 to 100 years to completely remove the 200 billion tons of carbon that is currently in the atmosphere.

While Land Lifes reforestation project is not a quick fix, it is certainly important to project the future of the planet. Further data has recently highlighted areas in the UK, Ireland, Central Europe, the USs southeastern states, and the tropical east coast of Australia as the best locations for potential new forests. This data is likely to inform projects such as Land Lifes on where trees are most likely to survive. The future is likely to see reforestation projects that rely heavily on the guidance of technology as being fundamental to the essential tasks of reversing and offsetting emissions.

References and Further Reading

A new way to fix the planet, Land Life, https://landlifecompany.com/technology/

Is Profitable Reforestation Possible? Land Life Company Makes the New 50 to Watch List, Clean Tech, Jules Besnainou, https://www.cleantech.com/is-profitable-reforestation-possible-land-life-company-makes-the-new-50-to-watch-list/

Growing trees in deserts, Green Challenge, https://www.greenchallenge.info/news-archive/64-news-land-life-company/612-growing-trees-in-deserts

Tree planting 'has mind-blowing potential' to tackle climate crisis, The Guardian, Damian Carrington, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/04/planting-billions-trees-best-tackle-climate-crisis-scientists-canopy-emissions

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the author expressed in their private capacity and do not necessarily represent the views of AZoM.com Limited T/A AZoNetwork the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and conditions of use of this website.

Sarah Moore

Written by

Sarah Moore

After studying Psychology and then Neuroscience, Sarah quickly found her enjoyment for researching and writing research papers; turning to a passion to connect ideas with people through writing.

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Comments

  1. Taras Pushak Taras Pushak Ukraine says:

    Sarah, I was surprised after reading this article, it is informative, thanks.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of AZoCleantech.com.

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