Natural Systems Best For Carbon Capture, Sequestration

Trees and forests can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, return the oxygen to the atmosphere and store the carbon for centuries. Deforestation is disrupting this vital system, while contributing to global warming and climate change.

Trees and forests can absorb some of the carbon dioxide that we all produce in our daily lives. Unfortunately, our remaining forests are under siege. We can reverse the trend now by demanding forest conservation and reforesting as much land as possible.

Tanzania reforestation project

The Carbon Cycle is the movement of carbon, in its many forms, between all living plants and animals, the atmosphere, the oceans, and soil and rocks. Forests affect the carbon cycle.

    • On the negative side, the most important factor influencing the carbon cycle is deforestation which results in a permanent loss of forest cover and a large release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Deforestation, which occurs primarily in tropical countries where forests are permanently cleared and converted to agriculture and urban settlement, is responsible for about 20 percent of global CO2 emissions.
    • On the positive side, planting fast-growing trees is the best way to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. By using wood sustainably, either to replace materials such as steel and concrete, or as a substitute for non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, CO2 emissions can be reduced. Every wood substitute, including steel, plastic and cement, requires more energy to produce than wood. One of the best ways to address climate change is to use more wood.

forest conservation and climate change mitigation

Ways people can improve their impact on the Carbon Cycle:

  • plant trees to help store more carbon
  • use wood products from sustainably managed forests
  • use public transport, cycle or walk rather than driving
  • manage forests to grow healthy trees because healthy trees store more carbon
  • use renewable energy sources
  • avoid or reduce your use of non-renewable energy supplies such as coal, oil and gas
  • conserve electricity and heating fuels
  • reuse building materials thus storing carbon.

We have plans in place to plant millions of new trees across five nations in East Africa, while conserving millions of acres of primary forests. It’s one of the largest bio carbon capture projects on the planet today.

It’s estimated that each tree in the tropics removes about 50 pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. In temperate zones, where the growing seasons are shorter, carbon uptake is lower.

Depending on the climate and the tree, the equivalent of one hundred hectares of plantation trees (181,500 trees) will absorb about 30 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare/year. Meanwhile, each hectare of primary rainforest absorbs about 30 tons of CO2 per year.

The agricultural aspect of some urban forestry projects will offset additional carbon as fruit and vegetable production will absorb additional carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, many of these urban trees will lower energy demands in buildings, which will reduce carbon footprints of buildings by varying amounts. The carbon dioxide availability is higher in urban areas than surrounding areas, which should add to the uptake potential of urban sites.

climate change and reforestation forest conservation

Learn More About CCS Opportunities in Africa