The latest Emissions Gap Report by the UN shows that the world has to cut current emissions by 45% to avoid reaching the dreaded 1.5 degrees temperature rise. According to the report, the signatories to the Paris Agreement have done little on the ground to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This effectively means that unless an alternative way is found, the world is going to the dogs. While policymakers still lag behind in reducing carbon emissions, there is something you can do about it. It can be as simple as planting a tree.
In recent times, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of planting trees. Gardeners, farmers, and homeowners are generally willing to participate in the process. However, few know what to plant and why. If your aim of planting trees is to help carbon absorption, you should know which tree works. You may already know that some trees are better at carbon absorption than others. In this light, you may also be interested in knowing the specific tree species that are good at carbon absorption.
There are general guidelines to observe if you are planting trees for the purpose of greenhouse gas absorption. For instance, it is proven that native trees absorb carbon better than non-native ones. This is because they thrive in the native soil; the faster a tree grows the better it is at carbon sequestration. The other factors of importance include the size of the tree trunk, leaves, and roots.
After considering the above factors, think about tree maintenance. Avoid growing trees that may require heavy irrigation in your locality. Such a tree will end up nullifying the expected benefits to the ecosystem. In making the choice for a tree to plant, you must ensure that it is not more expensive to maintain than the benefit it offers. Thankfully, most trees that are good at carbon absorption are easy to maintain. Note that some trees that are good at carbon absorption may not do well in your locality.
Only choose one that grows in your zone. Below are some of the best trees when it comes to carbon sequestering.
Pine trees are among the most popular trees in homesteads. The good news is that they are very good at absorbing and storing carbon dioxide. The term pine as commonly used refers to any tree that belongs to the genus Pinus in the family Pinaceae. They can easily be identified by their cone-shaped tops.
Given that there are different species of the same tree, you should be careful to grow one that thrives in your locality. Pines generally do well in cold areas. Even so, they still require exposure to sufficient sunlight. Some species may also be grown in warm areas. In the US, pines thrive in hardiness zones 2 to 10. The best pine species and the ones that are easiest to grow at home are the Red and White Ponderosas and the Hispaniolan pines.
The UN identifies the Douglas-fir as one of the best trees for carbon capture since it is evergreen. The Tall Douglas fir is even better since it has a taller and thicker trunk. The tree grows to a maximum of 330 feet but some species may remain as short as 70 feet.
While this tree is well placed to help capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it does not do well in some regions. In the US, it thrives in Central California, British Columbia, the Klamath Mountains, and the Coastal Ranges. However, the rocky mountain variety does not grow well in California.
The Douglas fir can be planted in many other regions as long as they receive a good amount of sunshine throughout the year. This species is easy to maintain as long as it is grown in the right environment. Given that it is evergreen and fast-growing, it rocks in carbon absorption. Other evergreen trees can also be used as an alternative including the Bald Cypress.
Commonly known as the Mindanao gum or rainbow gum, it is a stunning and distinctive tree known for its colorful, peeling bark. These trees are native to several countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines but grow in other parts of the world including soutern US.
The most striking feature of the Rainbow Eucalyptus is its bark, which peels away in strips to reveal a bright green layer underneath. Over time, this green bark matures to reveal shades of blue, purple, orange, and maroon, creating a visually stunning display of colors on the trunk. The unique appearance of the tree makes it a popular ornamental choice in gardens and parks in tropical and subtropical regions.
Rainbow Eucalyptus trees are typically large, reaching heights of 100 to 200 feet (30 to 60 meters) or more in their native habitats. They are fast-growing and thrive in areas with plenty of sunlight and high humidity. These trees are often planted for their aesthetic appeal, and they are not only beautiful but also provide habitat and food for various wildlife.
All oak tree species are very efficient in carbon sequestration. Of all trees discussed here, oak trees have the longest impact when it comes to carbon absorption. The tree can remain alive for up to 1000 years. Interestingly, the oak continues producing fruits for up to 700 years.
Given its lifespan, the size of its trunk, and its roots, the oak tree is definitely a supertree when it comes to carbon sequestration. Oaks are native to the northern hemisphere. They thrive in North America, Europe, parts of Asia, and Northern Africa. Oaks are easy to grow and require minimal monitoring. You may grow one in your backyard as long as it is not too close to the house. Get the seedlings from Amazon and get started.
The Black Walnut
The black walnut gives you double benefits; you get to absorb some carbon from the atmosphere but you also enjoy some walnuts as it matures. Scientifically known as Juglans Nigra, the black walnut tree is native to North America. The tree grows well in most regions but it thrives in riparian zones. It is ideal for those in Southern Ontario, South Dakota, Georgia, and Northern Florida for Americans. It also thrives in Europe and parts of Northern Asia.
Besides being a good tree for carbon capture, the black walnut offers many health benefits. Insted of buying black walnuts for your stomatch, you ,may get them from your garden.
The mangrove tree is probably one of the best at carbon absorption. Most people know the mangrove as a tree used in carbon trading projects across the world. The main reason is that it absorbs so much carbon dioxide. It can absorb carbon through its leaves and roots. It also stores large amounts of carbon in its thick trunk. These factors make mangroves among the best options for carbon absorption.
On the downside, mangroves only thrive in marshy areas. If you own a beach or marshland property, you may want to consider growing mangroves. For those in mainland areas, mangroves may not be a workable solution.
Planting trees should be part of your lifestyle if you care about the environment. More importantly, plant tree species that help reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The above trees are among the best in this regard but there are many others. Generally, look for evergreen species, those with heavy trunks, and those with deep roots. If all the above species do not fit your climate zone, go for any native species within your region.
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