Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blogs are made by fools like me but only a tree can store carbon!

Joyce Kilmer had it right on target. Poems are made by fools like him but only God can make a tree!

While Science can't prove or disprove whether God created trees or not, it can prove to an acceptable estimate that a tree can store at least 40% carbon it gets from the atmosphere it its trunk, branches and leaves. This is was the conclusion of one of my students, Ms Carol Barrias who studied the carbon sequestration potential of trees at the Angat watershed forest in Bulacan. She studied reforestation mahogany and gmelina trees. This is a significant finding since before she made her studies, trees were just estimated to store at most 30% carbon. Most of the carbon was believed to be lost as leaves are shed.

Trees remain as the most practical means of sequestering carbon in the near term. For the long term, we need corals and molluscs who can lock in carbon as calcium carbonate in their skeletons.

Trees become most efficient in storing carbon when they are 20 years old or so. When they become older, they slow down in this process but still sequester a significant amount.

This is something to think upon when trees are to be chopped down, balled or mindlessly burned.

I have always taught students that "saving the Earth" is much easier said than doing. But saving the our planet starts really by planting a tree. A tree sapling requires so much care that in the end, it is easier to cut one down than to plant one.

Martin Luther, the great Protestant reformer is believed to have said

"Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree"

There is something in here that probably Joyce Kilmer had an inkling about!

Our world is about to fall into pieces but maybe trees can save us!


Jego said...

Is the amount of carbon stored by trees enough to offset the methane they emit? Recent findings implicate trees in emitting from 60 and 240 million tonnes of methane per year.

Here's a link to the article in Nature (but the full article is behind a paywall though. Maybe the UP has a subscription?)

Ben Vallejo said...

That is a subject for more research! UP has no regular subscription to Nature unfortunately