glorious trees

An interesting factoid from Green Futures.










I was amazed when I first read it and did some quick calculations. We are lucky enough to have around 350 mature trees (mostly beech as it happens) in our plot here at Hedgerley. Some are growing quite close together, so I took 200 as a round number to be conservative. Then at 1g per tree per minute, that would mean we are saving 105,000 tonnes of C02 a year. Or as an alternative prize we could claim guilt-free driving of 250 million kilometers. Crazy surely?

So I wrote to the editor, Roger East. His very charming reply said ‘we’ve goofed’. It should be been 1kg per half hour. They’ve corrected it now on the site.

But it’s still a very significant finding for us. It means that our woodland is saving us 10 tonnes a day, or 3,504 tonnes a year. Which makes our carbon footprint minus 3,500 tonnes.

But what does this mean? Clearly not that we can fly wherever we like and forget about our plans for PV. But it does mean we should be careful about any tree that we cut.

And we only have this saving because we happened to choose buy a house in a wood – it didn’t even cost more than a house not in a wood. And there’s more.

At around 100 trees per acre and with an acre of woodland costing around £2,000, this means that an average person with an average footprint of 10 tonnes could genuinely (not notionally) soak up their emissions at a cost of less than £20. Planting one tree in your garden or in shared woodland would, when it’s mature, go on saving around 18 tonnes of C02 a year.

And what about a campaign for more trees in our towns? Why not one in front of every house – with the householder able to claim the reduction to their carbon ration so long as they look after it?

So is all this still too good to be true? I’m still looking for the original source of the research in New Zealand that came up with these figures.

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