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Hannah Lewis couldn’t stop reading. She knew she was on to something.

An article in her local paper described how, facing a proposed road expansion in Nantes, France, environmental organization MiniBigForest created a small, dense planting of native tree species. These would quickly become forests that would protect residents from noise and pollution from the increased traffic while also offsetting carbon emissions. As she read, it became clear to Lewis, a researcher for the United States-based nonprofit Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, that this technique was the answer she’d been looking for.

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