Tropical reforestation and climate change: beyond carbon
Catterall, Carla P.
Imbach Bartol, Pablo A.
Powers, Jennifer Sl.
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Tropical reforestation (TR) has been highlighted as an important intervention for climate change mitigation because of its carbon storage potential. TR can also play other frequently overlooked, but significant, roles in helping society and ecosystems adapt to climate variability and change. For example, reforestation can ameliorate climate-associated impacts of altered hydrological cycles in watersheds, protect coastal areas from increased storms, and provide habitat to reduce the probability of species’ extinctions under a changing climate. Consequently, reforestation should be managed with both adaptation and mitigation objectives in mind, so as to maximize synergies among these diverse roles, and to avoid trade-offs in which the achievement of one goal is detrimental to another. Management of increased forest cover must also incorporate measures for reducing the direct and indirect impacts of changing climate on reforestation itself. Here we advocate a focus on “climate-smart reforestation,” defined as reforesting for climate change mitigation and adaptation, while ensuring that the direct and indirect impacts of climate change on reforestation are anticipated and minimized.