Solutions 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”.
As 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 to come!
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.