Forests and Carbon Sequestration
to global warming are within our reach today: attainable, simple, down
to earth, solutions able to cut the emissions of heat trapping greenhouse
gases, sequester excess carbon gases already in the atmosphere, and regenerate
the health of the Earth. As we apply them, these are approaches that can
slow global warming, curb our dependence on foreign oil, boost our energy
security, and better our economy.
At Reforest Teak, we’re focused on one of the most practical
of these approaches ….restoring degraded land through ecological
reforestation. Along with oceans, soils and plants, forests, (particularly
trees with a large biomass per unit area of land), are among the quickest
and most efficient, nature-based ways to absorb excess carbon dioxide
(CO2) from the atmosphere. Here’s how they work.
By absorbing CO2, forests have the natural function of sequestering,
or storing, massive quantities of carbon. Once they’re saturated,
trees release carbon as they die.
As trees grow and absorb CO2 from the air through the process called
photosynthesis, they use solar energy to store carbon in every part of
their structure, from foliage to root systems. They return some carbon
to the atmosphere as they breathe. But, as living organisms, trees store
more carbon than they release, and continue to collect carbon as they
mature. By full maturity, nearly half of a tree’s weight will be
carbon…nature’s best conceived “carbon sink”.
trees die and decay, or are burned, diseased, degraded or otherwise cleared,
they become a carbon source, releasing stored carbon into the atmosphere.
Forests that undergo regular harvesting, as do the hardwood plantations
we manage, function with equal efficiency as carbon sinks, so long as
their yearly growth exceeds the amount of carbon removed during their
harvest. Additionally, it’s a fact that carbon stored in trees gets
transferred into forest products. So not only do Reforest Teak hardwood
stands provide a natural carbon sink while returning abandoned pastures
to ecological well-being, but the Reforest Teak products we make from
these trees will continue to store excess atmospheric carbon for centuries
At Reforest Teak, we’re working to convert thousands of acres of depleted
pasture to multi-species hardwood plantations. While a number of factors,
from tree species and soil to climate and topography, have a significant
impact on the carbon sequestration of a given woodland, we compute that
some 1,500 trees we plant, and manage for sustainability, will absorb
the equivalent of all the CO2 produced by an average American over the
course of 25 years. What’s more, they will convert to beautiful,
carbon-storing, heirloom teak and tropical hardwood products of timeless
appeal, and timely consequence for a healthier planet.
Of course, reforestation alone cannot solve all of the planet’s
green house gas problems, but there’s consensus among scientists,
environmentalists and a range of experts, that woodland restoration makes
a significant contribution to curbing climate change .
Science magazine reported in June, 2006, that reforestation and land
restoration can offset up to 15% of annual carbon emissions. More recently
research in 2007 suggests the total may be much higher. The work we do
today to revitalize impaired land with healthy
tropical forestlands is an immediate and intentional step towards the
realization of a low carbon economy, and a critical resource to combat
global warming for generations ahead.