Afforestation and reforestation policies are used to convert non-forested land back into forest. Afforestation in particular refers to converting land used for other purposes, for example rangeland or cropland, to forest. Reforestation refers to converting once-forested land that is no longer forested back into forestland.

Typically, afforestation and reforestation policies offer payments to landowners to remove land from production, to offset landholders’ foregone rent from the land. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, payments can take a variety of forms, including “afforestation grants, investment in transportation and roads, energy subsidies, tax exemptions for forestry investments, and tariffs against competing imports.” For example, in the U.S. the Conservation Reserve Program offers payments to landholders to remove land from agricultural production and instead plant environmentally beneficial plant species. These contracts last at least a decade, with some payments lasting 15 years.