Comment on “The global tree restoration potential”
by Simon L. Lewis, Edward T. A. Mitchard, Colin Prentice, Mark Maslin, and Ben Poulter, Science Vol 366, Issue 6463 18 October 2019. Abstract:
Bastin et al. (Reports, 5 July 2019, p. 76) state that the restoration potential of new forests globally is 205 gigatonnes of carbon, conclude that “global tree restoration is our most effective climate change solution to date,” and state that climate change will drive the loss of 450 million hectares of existing tropical forest by 2050. Here we show that these three statements are incorrect.And so on. I suppose we can call this the self-correcting nature of science, but actually it's more the malign Nature effect: wherein top journals an authors conspire to publish exciting-sounding findings, even if they're wrong.
That's only the first "reply". Leo Hickman has a nice Twatter thread with links to the other three, which I didn't bother read. I see I was wise enough to comment at the time, but over at RealClimate Stefan said the obvious things. Particularly dumb in the Bastin article, as the reply points out, is The stated 205 GtC restoration potential is 0.22 GtC Mha−1 new forest cover, double previously published estimates (2–5). This anomaly is not noted by the authors. That's inexcusable, both by the authors, and by Science editors / reviewers.