Mini urban forests
Microforests [tiny forests] are taking root in communities around the world, sometimes in memory of someone or as a special project for a community organisation.
Trees are one of the Earth’s greatest defences against climate change, but the United Nations’ State of the World’s Forests Report reveals 420 million hectares of forest have been lost to other uses since 1990. The rate of deforestation has now slowed, but it’s still at twice the rate of forest expansion.
Pioneered in the 1970s by Akira Miyawaki, a Japanese botanist, developing these mini urban forests involves densely planting small patches of land with a variety of species native to the region or area. It has been reported that Miyawaki forests grow into mature ecosystems in just 20 years, compared to the 200 years it takes for a forest to regenerate on its own.
Scaling up carbon storage
With global carbon dioxide levels still rising, removing vast amounts of CO2 from the air is a critical tool to combat climate change.
Swiss firm Climeworks recently began construction of Orca, a landmark direct air capture and storage plant in Iceland. Powered by geothermal energy, Orca’s eight carbon collection units will capture 4000 tons of CO2 daily. The concentrated CO2 will be dissolved in water and injected deep underground where over 95% will rapidly mineralize into inert rock carbonates, securing it underground for many centuries. It is likely that Orca’s annual capture capacity of 1 million tons of CO2 will equal the emissions from about 790,000 cars.