Reforestation in a box

9 June 2021 – From Verge Weekly – GreenBiz

Over the past 4.5 billion years (give or take a few hundred million) the Earth has cultivated many perfect examples of circular economy principles — including the natural patterns through which water is withdrawn from rivers, springs, streams, lakes (and so forth) through evaporation and returned through rainfalls both gentle and stormy. 

Terraformation, a climate-tech startup fronted by a former CEO of Reddit, engineer Yishan Wong, is drawing on that model to create a new unique approach to a topic that’s all the rage with sustainability professionals, reforestation. Its moonshot-y idea: turn desertified landscapes and degraded land into new forests, using water supplied by desalination processes powered by solar panels and native seeds that improve biodiversity. 

Wong is a vocal advocate for the simplicity of mass reforestation as a way of drawing down excess carbon dioxide, but he recognizes there aren’t currently enough arable acres to reach that 1 trillion tree goal that the corporate world has passionately embraced. “The previous consensus was that we have 1 billion to 1.5 billion acres that get enough natural rainfall to support this,” Wong told me. Combining climate tech with Indigenous forestry practices could be a game-changer, he believes. “You can restore deserts, especially if they were in recent geological times a forest.”

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