Trees and Carbon Dioxide

You may already know this but many people ask why do trees take carbon dioxide from the air.

Fact – Trees sequester carbon –  the process of removal and long-term storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) from our atmosphere.

In simple terms, trees use carbon dioxide to grow, tree take the CO2 and transform it into twigs, branches, limbs and trucks and continue to store that carbon until they die and decompose.

Alternatively if a tree is cut down and used for firewood CO2 is released back into the environment.

So, A tree living and growing for hundreds of year will continue to take carbon dioxide from the air.

A rough estimate of the amount of carbon dioxide take from the air over its lifetime if 5 metric tonnes of CO2, hard to imagine what that looks like isn’t it?

Well maybe this will help, imagine a hot air balloon fully inflated with CO2 – that would represent about 1 tonne of CO2. So a mature tree will have absorbed the equivalent of 5 hot air balloons of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Thats impressive, But…. and it is a big but, if you take all the emissions from Ireland and divide that by our population it would equate to 13 tonnes of CO2 emitted each year, per person – yeah per person!!!

13 tonnes of CO2 equates to about 200 bags of coal being burned!?! …or 36 barrels of oil!?!

So let’s say you subscribe for 12 trees a year -120 trees in 10 years, so over the next 50 years you will have made the following happen:

It is also worth recognising that supporting the Rewilding and planting at Dunsany helps protect the already 500 acres of woodland removing 565 tonnes of carbon dioxide each and every year – 28,500 Tonnes over 50 years.

Produced 35 Tonnes of Oxygen – Think 35 happy balloons

Provided enough oxygen for 38,000 to breathe

Stored 13 tonnes of carbon

Stopped 700,000 gallons of water from evaporating

Cooling the planet to the equivalent impact of running 7 air conditioners on full tilt for 10 years with no energy consumption as the trees dont need petrol or electricity!!

So this is where it gets tricky –

‘So how many trees do I need to plant to negate my impact on the environment’

Answer : ‘As many as you can manage… and reduce your consumption.’

‘No, but really what is the minimum?’

Answer ‘It is a lengthy calculation as the rate of carbon sequestration depends on the growth characteristics of the tree species, the density of its wood, the conditions for growth, and the planting stage of the tree.

The strongest growth is probably in the younger stages of tree growth, between 10 to 50 years, but we have to start somewhere.’

‘Anyway, What is the number?’


‘You will be a little surprised but each of us would have to plant about 500 trees to fully offset our emissions. Yeah 500 minimum. Part of the CO2 challenge is about planting trees, while at the same time reducing our consumption of goods, of using less fuel for transport and heat etc.’

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