At eSF we believe that in our fight against climate change, there is no substitute for carbon sinks. By carbon sinks, we mean restoring natural assets like dense patches of forests and healthy water bodies and also innovative technology solutions that sequester carbon. Restoring natural assets like forests and water bodies bring the additional advantage of habitat restoration which helps conserve biodiversity.
At the same time, innovative solutions that sequester carbon help drive development agendas in a more sustainable manner. This section on Carbon Sinks describes our dedication to restoring natural assets while the Energy Section describes our work in innovative solutions that sequester carbon.
We are rethinking afforestation strategies by learning from Nature herself
Challenge: Resolving a paradox
One of the factors that explains this paradox is that addition of green cover through ongoing afforestation efforts is only in scattered lumps which are linear and hyper managed. By hyper-managed and linear we mean that afforestation efforts pick single strands of tree species and these trees are planted in a linear manner along roadsides and in industrial or residential complexes. While surely, this is a positive measure, this hyper-managed approach in afforestation needs rethinking. This is because the type of trees being selected are mostly done based on ornamental or productive benefits of the tree.
Often such trees are not native to the local soil and climatology conditions, which results in a very low survival rate of the trees. Such trees also pose a threat to life and property as they have lower resistance than native trees against local weather, soil and pest conditions. Afforestation efforts that are linear, hyper-managed and plant single tree species also have limited benefits, as they do not encourage species diversity, diversity of pollinators & discourage migration of animals. This also leads to genetic bottlenecks due to inbreeding.
eSF emphasizes on rethinking current Afforestation strategies by learning from Nature herself. Our Afforestation Strategy gives preference to Groves & Forest Corridors instead of the current linear, hyper-managed plantation drives. Our strategy also recognises the close link between groves, forest corridors and wetlands and so, we advance afforestation efforts that also restore wetlands (see JalKosh initiative). The combined benefits of wetland conservation and afforestation proves to be highly potent in creating carbon sinks and thus mitigating global warming and climate change.
Groves mitigate climate change in an exponential manner compared to linear, managed lines of single species of trees. Groves take up lesser area due to the lower requirement of spacing between trees. When a tree falls within a grove, the decomposers help add value to the soil so carbon is sequestered into the soil itself.
This is not the case when a tree falls on concrete. The probability of ecotones and edge effect is greater in the case of groves and forest corridors compared to linear tracts of single types of tree plantation which encourages more species diversity.
This strategy also aims to connect large groves and mini forests using forest corridors. This will help improve diversity of pollinators and prevent local extinction of plants. Forest corridors will also help reduce man-animal conflict as animals can move freely without “encroaching” on human territory. Promoting groves, forest corridors and conservation of wetlands over single tracts of trees is also a solution for restoration of non-megafauna without increasing burden on state resources which are currently focused.