Fighting Climate Change, One Forest at a Time

December 7, 2022

Recognizing that forests not only capture the atmosphere’s excess carbon dioxide, but also store vast quantities of it, the United Nations promotes tree planting on new lands — called afforestation — along with reforestation of former woodlands, as important pathways toward controlling global warming. Biologists and foresters from Tufts and Harvard universities want to go a step farther, saying that “proforestation”— retaining and protecting already-established mature forests — is a far more efficient, economical, and immediate solution. Applying that idea, conservationists in southern Illinois are proposing a new kind of national park, or “climate preserve,” that would help stanch climate change, from temperate zones to the Arctic, by protecting mature forests from logging.


John Wallace, conservation activist and co-founder of Shawnee Forest Defense, views logging site at Bean Ridge in Shawnee National Forest; Thebes, Illinois. © Randall Hyman

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