Company calls for investment in global seed supply to drive reforestation

More investment and innovation is needed to build a global seed bank and drive reforestation, according to company Terraformation.

The company provides a range of tools and services to drive reforestation and aims to restore three billion acres of native forest in the next decade.

Global firms have committed to planting approximately 3.6 billion trees in their sustainability plans and $7.2bn of investment was pledged to protect forests at COP26, but this won’t be possible without global seed banking infrastructure, says Terraformation.

Research conducted by the group found a global decentralised seed bank could enhance reforestation efforts, preserve threatened plant species, sustainably expand native seed supply systems and benefit local communities.

aerial photography of forest

Yishan Wong, founder and CEO of Terraformation, said: ‘Public conversation around restoration focuses on tree-planting, but often forgets the forest, and the seed. We urgently need to improve access to solutions for long-term, resilient restoration by not only deploying thousands of new seed banks to solve seed supply shortages, but also solutions to other bottlenecks like early-stage capital. Scalable reforestation solutions are essential in supporting the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the planting commitments of hundreds of countries and organizations.’

The report also revealed that there are 410 seed banks across 96 countries storing native species, but more are required in almost every country to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Almost half of the world has no known seed banks, while the US, Australia, Brazil, and China have the most, but even these countries need more to meet their restoration potential.

The research also said that seed banks should be concentrated in tropics and biodiversity hotspots, as these areas have the best impact on climate regulation, and thousands of seed collectors will need to be trained to meet demand.

Terraformation is now calling for businesses to invest in seed banks, governments to support them as a natural resource management strategy and local reforestation organisations to prioritise seed banking.

The company has also today launched its Seed to Forest Alliance, with American Forests, Ecosystem Restoration Camps and One Tree Planted, as well as US as an advisory partner.

This group will connect forestry teams with financial and technical support, contribute to research and thought leadership, and share results, best practices and expertise.

While reforestation is often thought as the key to solving the climate crisis, as trees absorb carbon dioxide, research has shown it may not be a fail-safe approach.

Scientists have found forests planted on nutrient-poor land won’t act as an effective carbon sink in the long term.

Research elsewhere has also discovered that the approach may not be successful as the climate warms, as high temperatures can compromise a trees ability to absorb carbon.

Photos by Jason Leem and Terraformation 


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