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What is reforestation?

Reforestation involves the replanting or regeneration of areas of forest which have previously been damaged or destroyed. Sometimes forests are able to regenerate naturally if sufficient trees remain nearby and seeds can be dispersed into the deforested areas via animals or wind. However, areas of forest which have been severely degraded are unlikely to be able to regenerate naturally and need to be replanted by hand using native tree species.

Why is reforestation needed?

Reforestation is needed because huge areas of forest are being damaged or destroyed around the world on a daily basis. Some estimates suggest that an area of forest equivalent in size to 36 football pitches is lost every minute. This deforestation has a number of causes, including fires, the clearing of land to make way for agriculture or human settlement, logging, mining and climate change.

Forests are very important for a number of reasons and deforestation is a serious problem which affects us all. As well as being home to a huge and diverse range of animal and plant species, forests provide livelihoods for a vast number of people around the world and are a source of paper, timber, food and the ingredients of many other products, such as medicines and cosmetics. Forests are also vital for the health of our planet, maintaining the water cycle, preventing soil erosion and absorbing and storing enormous amounts of carbon dioxide which helps to limit the effects of climate change.

In order to tackle deforestation there are a number of organisations around the world that aim to replant trees and help to regenerate and restore forest habitats.

Reforestation facts

  • Reforestation usually involves replanting areas of forest which have previously been damaged or destroyed, using native tree species.
  • Reforestation is of great importance, as estimates suggest that at the current rate of deforestation, there may be no rainforest left within 100 years.
  • Huge areas of forest have already been lost, for example, only around eight percent of the Atlantic forest in South America now remains.

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