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9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Tree Plantations on Degraded Land

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  • This article reports the benefits, economics, and logistics of planting tree plantations on degraded land as a method for reducing greenhouse gas concentrations.
  • Tree plantations are presented as an excellent land-based climate change mitigation strategy because they sequester carbon and divert deforestation from other land.
  • This article presents data on the financial and environmental metrics related to different models of afforestation.
Teaching Tips


  • This article describes the methodologies and cites the resources used to project the costs and benefits of tree plantations on degraded land.
  • Students may feel hopeful when learning about afforestation on degraded land because it is a simple solution to understand and is already in practice in some areas.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Learners should be familiar with carbon sinks, deforestation, and afforestation.
  • Learners with limited experience with scientific papers or economics may need additional support with the technical way the data, resources, and projections are presented.


  • Consider having students compare and contrast this solution to other tree-based solutions on the same website, such as tree intercropping or tropical rainforest reforestation.
  • Science students could add up all of the tree- and nature-based solutions to calculate the total impact of protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, then compare it to other solutions.
  • As an extension activity have students research and propose areas of marginal or degraded land in their communities that could benefit from tree plantings.
  • As an outdoor activity, have students map out areas on their school grounds where native plants and trees could be planted instead of turf grass to increase carbon storage and provide additional wildlife habitat.
  • This analysis provides opportunities for cross-curricular connections to economics and math when analyzing the data in the paper, or for geography classes that could use this interactive map of global forests.
Scientist Notes
This article discusses a study that examines how planting trees on degraded land can be a potential way to increase carbon sinks in the environment. It also discusses how tree plantations can be beneficial in other ways, such as preventing deforestation. The article is organized similar to a scientific paper in the way it breaks down this climate solution into an introduction, methods, results, discussion, and conclusion section. The limitations of the study are also included. These make this resource a good example of how scientific articles are often structured. Resources are included. The information presented is accurate and this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or conclusions of a text; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms.
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