What Is Tree Planting To Offset CO2? - How Will it Help the Planet?
If there was a simple action you could take today to make the world a better place, would you do it? If you answered yes, keep reading! We all know that greenhouse gas is tearing the world apart. However, most people believe that there is nothing that we can do about it. Those who think we can do something about it often feel that they cannot do it by themselves, so why bother? Well, if everyone looked at the issue in the same way, then we would never get anywhere. We need to consider tree planting to offset CO2, fast.
Even though we need a considerable reduction in carbon emission, we all need to take action to reach the goal of a beautiful, healthy planet in which we can live. While there are many exciting innovations and solutions on the horizon, one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce CO2 is by planting trees—lots of them.
Planting Trees To Offset CO2
As you will have seen in our Origin and Mission(link) article, the tourism industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to CO2 emissions. The problem is that, even if we all just stop traveling, the planet’s carbon levels will remain dangerously high for a long time. We need to remove the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, actively. Envirotels’ mission is to allow us to travel still and reduce the levels while we do it.
What Is Carbon Offset?
Carbon offset schemes are a way for companies and individuals to invest in the planet through well-managed projects to balance and reduce the carbon levels in the atmosphere. There are many ways in which we can do that, from investing in new technology to actively absorbing the CO2 from the air through planting trees. The realistic issue, though, is that we are at least 20 years away from electric planes, and they may only hold 100 passengers, so that is out of the question for tourism, for now.
How Do Airlines (And Envirotels) Offset Carbon Footprint?
As you have read, many airlines are investing in new technology for electric flight. However, it is a long way off in reality. Therefore, we must do something now. That something is planting trees. Whenever you book a trip with Envirotels, whether it is a flight or a local “staycation,” we calculate the number of trees required to offset your personal carbon footprint, and we pay for them to be planted and for the upkeep of them to ensure they are sustainable.
Why Planting Trees Works - The Amazon Carbon Offset Project
The Amazon is often referred to as the lungs of the Earth, and with good reason, trees produce oxygen and absorb CO2. Essentially, trees work in reverse to our bodies, and they absorb CO2 and release oxygen. Through photosynthesis, trees are able can capture carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air. You likely already know this information, but it’s worth repeating because it’s nature’s miracle!
“Increasing the Earth’s forests by an area the size of the United States would cut atmospheric carbon dioxide 25 percent.”National Geographic
We believe in the potential of tree planting to offset CO2, and the Amazon Carbon offset project, so much that our mission is to plant 30,000 trees in the Brazilian Amazon this year! Planting new trees, in a sustainable way, is our only affordable carbon removal strategy (besides protecting already established forests). Planting TONS of trees is the perfect solution to climate change because it’s natural, low tech, and highly effective.
Low cost and natural solutions such as reviving and preserving forests by planting trees can “achieve more than 37% of the emissions reductions we need to stay under 1.5° C increase.” Staying under a 1.5° C change in temperature is climate scientists’ goal to maintain the Earth at a healthy state. Restoring and conserving forests by planting more trees, is the most natural, affordable, and powerful way that we can reduce carbon emissions. That’s why we believe in the power of planting trees.
Agroforestry - How Effective Are Trees?
Trees are effective at reducing CO2 levels because they are one of Earth’s most massive terrestrial carbon sinks (next to soil). A carbon sink is anything that absorbs CO2 efficiently in significant amounts. When taken care of properly, forests are carbon storage powerhouses!
Not all forests are created equally, though. Some forestry, like agroforestry, has specific benefits. Planting trees in degraded forests, along with healthy forest management like agroforestry, increases “the carbon stock of forest soil by reducing direct loss to the atmosphere.” Agroforestry takes into consideration the natural surroundings of the forest while providing natural materials by planting native trees. It is a viable way to maintain forests because of all the benefits it has, including alterations in the climate, diversification of agriculture, contribution to the fertility and effectiveness of the soil, more sustainable water and soil use, carbon emission reduction, and increased carbon sequestration.
All of these positive attributions of agroforestry come together to create the perfect conditions for maximum carbon sequestration, which is the main goal behind planting more trees. That is why agroforestry is capable of offsetting vast amounts of greenhouse gases.
How Many Trees Do We Need To Plant To Offset CO2?
Unfortunately, this is a question difficult to answer. The reason for that is simple; it all depends on the type of tree and the climate where it grows. However, as an average, you need four trees to grow for the first one hundred years of their lives to sequester 1 tonne of CO2. To put that into perspective, 1 tonne is 1000kg, and the average airliner produces around 90kg CO2 per hour. Therefore, raising four trees for one hundred years offsets the carbon emissions of one ten-hour flight. Furthermore, that would also remove a further 100kg of CO2 from the atmosphere, too.
Tree Planting To Offset CO2 - The Right Way
Although agroforestry seems like a clear solution to combat global warming, it’s not as simple as planting some random trees wherever you want (although we wish it were that straightforward!). We must take into consideration the local environment surrounding the trees before planting.
We meticulously plan where we plant every tree to ensure that it is useful for the environment and the people who live in the surroundings of the tree. For example, if a tree bears fruit, the landowners can eat or sell the fruit for their own economy and wellbeing. That gives them the incentive to keep that tree healthy, instead of using it for the wood that it provides.
Tree Planting To Offset CO2 - Conclusion
While tree planting initiatives have been around for decades, not all of them have been effective in capturing CO2 emissions. Many tree-planting projects have failed in the past. That is mostly due to negligence and lack of transparency from the programs running them. Some organizations come in quickly, plant trees, and leave with no regard to the long term effects that the new trees will have on their surrounding environment or community. It’s a shame that even though previous tree planting projects shared the same passion as us, they failed to see it through. Here at Envirotels, we will not be placed into the same bracket as that; we will see it through.
That’s why we have learned from their mistakes and vowed to do this the right way. We need to be different to make a real change. We have taken our time to work with local farmers in Brazil and made sure that they are well equipped enough to sustain the new forest we are growing together. We only plant native trees on a plot of land designed to support agroforestry, to ensure that our tree planting project not only thrives to benefit the global environment, but also strengthens the local community, economy, and ecosystem.
Here are some photos of the farmers we work in Brazil. You can see the plot of land ready for our trees, and the fishery right next to it that will promote agroforestry.