Planting Trees for Carbon Sequestration

tree1I’ve been meaning to look into this:

If we can’t slow down or reduce CO2 emissions (either by burning less fossil fuel or capturing it after fossil fuel combustion), the next best (imperative) thing to do is try to get it out of the air once it’s in the atmosphere. Okay, I’m not coming up with a new idea here, but everyone knows that plants take CO2 out of the air and turn it into plant matter. I’ve been meaning to look for numbers on how much CO2 you could sequester (fancy word!) by planting trees on a very large scale. The first set of numbers, I’ve found on this page here are outright depressing.

* An average tree will take approximately 1 ton of CO2 out of the air over a 100 year life span.

* In 2003, CO2 world emissions from fossil fuel were 7.3 billion metric tons .

Ergo: If we keep annual emissions steady, we would have to plant at least this many trees per year to keep atmospheric CO2 levels constant:

7,300,000,000 metric tons per year /  1 metric ton per 100 years = 730,000,000,000 trees. Right ?

If you squeezed 100 trees onto one acre of land, that would take up 7.3 billion acres of land, or 11 million square miles.

According to the CIA, US landmass is 3,539,224 sq miles. So we’d have to plant this area 3 times over every year with trees …

Okay, guys, what am I missing or where did my math fail me or so help us God…


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