Contact our team of tree care experts today to schedule service!

So how much Carbon does one tree actually absorb?

What trees have to offer to counter carbon emissions and more.

Last week on the tree of knowledge we posted about the trillion trees act. This is to help reduce CO2 emissions. Now the big question is will this project help us in this time of change? The answer is…YES! Trees are a form of “natural technology” that has been doing this long since before humans were around. Trees reduce carbon emissions and so much more, let me explain; they also regulate local climate, produce oxygen, improve soil quality, and attract wildlife. Trees have such great potential for our planet. So to get the facts straight, in this article, we are going to go over approximately how much CO2 trees actually absorb.

Let’s start with photosynthesis, you’ve most likely heard of it in science class, but here’s a quick recap. Photosynthesis is the process of converting CO2 to carbohydrates (sugar). This process forms the building blocks of the tree. During this process sunlight hits the chlorophyll, the chloroplasts consume the suns energy in order to begin photosynthesis. Trees will make the carbs and sugar necessary while releasing oxygen into the air through the tiny pores on its leaves. As the tree grows bigger throughout the years there is more CO2 consumption and more oxygen is released.

A young tree absorbs about 5900 grams of CO2 per year, while a 10-year-old tree absorbs almost 22,000 grams per year.
By taking these numbers we can calculate the average CO2 that is absorbed by a tree during his lifetime.
To make this more tangible we convert the absorption per tree, to the CO2 capture per acre.
When you run the number, it turns out that one acre of forest absorbs about 2.5 tons of CO2 per year.

Food for thought: If every American family would plant just one tree, it could lead to a reduction of 453.592 tons of CO2 every year; which is about 5% of the total human CO2 production. This means that if every American family would plant 20 trees, we might actually play even.

How many trees do we need?

It is estimated that we would need 321 million acres of trees in order to combat Climate Change. This would increase the soil quality, improve water quality and safety, and remove enough CO2 to give us a chance to not overheat this planet. The sustainably grown wood can be used as a building material to diminish the need for steel and concrete.

Trees do more!

But trees do even more than absorbing CO2. They actually help regulate the climate in their surroundings. On hot days they help to cool down the temperature. By planting trees in smart places, we can reduce the amount of cooling in buildings up to 30%! This means less electricity is needed, while it’s just as comfortable inside. Trees improve the air temperature around them and make walking and biking much more appealing. Add the cleaner air, and it is another argument to plant as many trees as possible.

Not every tree is the same

Every tree is native to a certain region and has certain properties that make it better or worse suites for CO2 absorption. In general, trees that grow strong, tall, old and relatively fast take up the most CO2. The best tree in the world is, therefore, the Redwood, found in abundance in California. These trees grow up to 100 meters tall, 5 meters in diameter at the base and up to 800 years old! Imagine how much CO2 one of these giants absorbs during his lifetime. It is extra painful to know that many Californian cities were built on the ‘cheap wood’ that was provided by these beautiful trees, and they have decreased tremendously. Luckily there are many programs in place to protect the current trees and start growing more of them again. Redwoods really are majestic trees.

Even though Redwood trees absorb the most amount of CO2 per tree; the dense rain forest can actually absorb more CO2 per acre. A rain forest consists of hundreds of different plants, big and small. In general, the best trees to plant are the trees that are native to that region. They will grow strongest, with the least risk of disease of having other side effects we did not see coming. Native trees will help restore the balance and attract all sorts of wildlife that were forced out before.

Source: Sempervirens

*Content may have been edited for length purposes

Schedule A Tree Care Consultation

Fill out this form or call us at (609) 853-5572 to get started.