The government of South Korea has confirmed it will plant more than 3 billion new trees in order to reduce emissions and meet carbon neutrality goals, as the country joins the World Economic Forum’s latest initiative.
South Korea’s Forest Service has outlined plans that would see the country plant 3 billion trees over the next three decades, while hoping to reach carbon neutrality by the mid-century.
South Korea confirmed it would join the World Economic Forum’s initiative, which is aiming to plant one trillion trees around the globe to grow, restore and conserve one billion trees, maintain biodiversity and reduce the impact of deforestation.
The WEF says that “deforestation causes almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as global road travel,” and hopes more countries will join the initiative to plant trees in the fight against climate change and deforestation.
In total, South Korea has pledged more than 6 trillion won (USD $5.3 billion) to the new project that
Interestingly, the South Korea’s Forest Service has said that some trees will actually be logged and replaced with younger trees. This, according to the government, is due to the fact that trees older than thirty-years-old have a significantly lowered ability to sequester carbon and photosynthesis.
The country says that a number of its forests were planted in the 1970s, meaning that the capacity of its forests to photosynthesise carbon dioxide into oxygen is significantly lower than where it needs to be to meet environmental goals.
They say that as it stands, its forests are capable of converting 46 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into oxygen each year, which represents around 6% of South Korea’s overall emissions.
South Korea Says It Will Plant 3 Billion New Trees To Reduce Emissions
The forestry service says that if new forests are not planted, this capacity will drop to 14 million tonnes by 2050, signalling the need to plant significantly more trees to process added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Korea’s Forest Service Minister, Choi Byeong-am has told the Korean Herald that “trees absorb as much carbon dioxide as they grow in a year. A pine tree absorbs about 300 kilograms of carbon dioxide as it grows for 50 years. So just 1 hectares of of 30-year-old pine trees can absorb 11 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, which equals to the amount of greenhouse gas emitted by about eight passenger cars.”
He continued to explain that “in the long-term, we seek to contribute to the goal by planting 3 billion trees in the next 30 years to reduce about 34 million tonnes of carbon emissions, annually.”
“We will be planting 2.7 billion trees in South korea, and 300 million trees in North Korea,” he added. “This year, we are planting about 48 million trees across a total area of 20,000 hectares. We will be increasing the annual volume so that the number of trees we plant reaches to about 100 million trees in a year.”