A seed in the bucket

Last week, the Campbell administration revealed would be planting four million trees in urban areas as part of a $10 million initiative to "provide opportunities for every community in BC to help sequester carbon." But the planting of those trees might not have as much impact on the province's greenhouse gas emissions as you would think. According to the government's own climate action plan, "a single large, mature tree can absorb more than 20 kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year." That means, by the time the government's Trees for Tomorrow seeds growup, they'll be absorbing 80,000 tonnes of carbon annually. By comparison, according to Environment Canada, Duke Energy Corp.'s Fort Nelson Gas Plant emmitted 1,895,602 tonnes of that greenhouse gas in 2004.

2 Comments

If King Gordo tells us all those trees will help the environment, well he in his own mind is always right. But trees are beinng clear cut right now. How many tons of carbon dioxide will be around as those trees head across the border. How much carbon dioxide was produced by the private jet that took him to China? Big business need not worry as Gordo is on side with the big polutters.

"A single mature tree can absorb carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 lbs./year and release enough oxygen back into the atmosphere to support 2 human beings...." -http://www.coloradotrees.org/benefits.htm
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http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/forums/showthread.php?t=27792

"Re: What plant consumes the most CO2

I would think that the amount of Biomass produced per acre would be a good measure for Carbon Dioxide consumption per acre. It seems that I recall that algae were also good consumers of Carbon Dioxide.

I am also interested in this topic after seeing a PBS program on Global Dimming. I am sure that climate, soil type, and other factors impact the amount of biomass produced and consequently the amount of CO2 consumed. I would think that to be of any benefit to environmental change, the CO2 would have to be tied up in the biomass in large quantities for long periods of time as the decay of biomass yields CO2. So, trees, while typically slower growing, would provide a longer term CO2 sink.

Thoughts?

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montyb
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#6 September 10th, 2007
Michael F
Plant Enthusiast
Location: Britain zone 8/9

Re: What plant consumes the most CO2

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The duckweed Lemna seems to be one of the most productive, with a theoretical productivity (in optimised conditions) of 183 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year. In practice, yields are more usually 10-20 tonnes per hectare per year, though one study yielded 51 tonnes per hectare per year (see table 1):
http://www.fao.org/ag/AGA/AGAP/FRG/lrrd/lrrd7/1/3.htm

Not very good in terms of a long-term sink though. For that, trees are better, as wood is easier to store than dried duckweed. One Abies grandis plantation in Britain has been growing at 34 cubic meters per hectare per year, and some tropical Eucalyptus etc can grow even faster.

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Although carbon dioxide is one of three main components which combine to produce the products necessary for plant growth, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is only 0.03% (250 to 330 parts per million). This compares to 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 0.97% trace gases in normal air.
- http://homeharvest.com/carbondioxideenrichment.htm


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