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  • By Inge Bremer

How much carbon will the trees on my property absorb?

For a long time trees and soil, as well as the oceans, have been doing a marvellous job of keeping things in equilibrium.

Then we started to burn enormous quantities of oil and coal in order to enjoy cheap energy or travel by car and plane all over the world, helped by technical gadgets that made life very convenient. At the same time we cut down trees at an enormous rate and, covered soil with asphalt and concrete and filled the oceans with our waste, especially plastic. Now we are starting to suffer the consequences with the weather increasingly becoming either; too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry or too stormy.

In order to try and stem and even reverse these trends we need to sequester carbon, i.e. absorb more of it from the atmosphere. That can be done by planting more trees and improving the soil. Everyone of us can do a little bit.

So how many big trees do we need to cultivate in order to cover our personal carbon dioxide output? This is where our carbon calculator helps.

When you first plant a tree, it is too small sequester to much carbon at all. When it has grown to 20 cm circumference (in about 4 -5 years), it will absorb about 50 kg CO2/year. A big tree (300 cm circumference) will absorb 5,000 kg/year - that goes a long way towards making your household carbon neutral. So think before you chop!

In Kerikeri many of us live on plots of land that are ideal for growing larger trees. Rather than having a great expanse of lawn that you need to mow every week (and more frequently as it gets warmer and wetter!) why not plant a few more trees?

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