Afforestation vs Reforestation

As global warming, climate change, and deforestation make national news, afforestation and reforestation efforts are put into practice to meet our commercial needs and preserve the planet’s well being.

Afforestation vs. Reforestation: What’s the difference?

Afforestation & reforestation are both defined as the replanting of trees, but the distinction lies in where the trees are planted.

Afforestation is the sowing of seeds on land devoid of trees in order to create a new forest. Reforestation is the planting of native trees in an existing forest in order to increase a woodland’s numbers.


Afforestation helps maintain the balance in nature, and is a practice propagated by government and non-government entities. The creation of forests is mostly for commercial purposes and is meant to prevent the destruction of naturally occurring woodlands. Afforestation allows humans to have an alternative source for the high demand of building materials and wood fuels so wildlife, plants, animals, and ecosystems are preserved.

Although afforestation can make positive impacts on the environment, proper education and research is paramount when planting trees. Areas like savannas and tropical grassy biomes may appear barren when they actually have ecosystems and specific ecological benefits to the earth. Planting new trees on areas such as these could be detrimental to nature.


Reforestation is also imperative to the environment. Rebuilding natural forests helps clean the air from pollution, lessens the effects of global warming, and rebuilds woodlands after natural disasters, insect infestations, diseases, wildfires, and other unplanned catastrophes.

Most reforestation efforts involve the sampling and replanting of seedlings from the areas to be planted so canopy covers, natural habitats, wildlife, ecosystems, and soil, carbon, and water productivity can be quickly re-established.

Again, reforestation isn’t as simple as planting trees whenever and wherever. Major tree planting programs affect the local climate so proper education is paramount to correctly maintaining the environment.

Afforestation and reforestation can make positive influences on the environment. With proper education and research, tree planting efforts can meet the increasing demands of commercial products, fight global warming, and rebuild natural habitats without negatively impacting our world.

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