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How trees store carbon

One of our main aims of planting 1 million trees is to tackle climate change.

Trees remove carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) from the atmosphere and store the carbon in their trunks, stems, leaves, roots and in the soil. They release oxygen as a by-product.

The amount of carbon a tree removes and stores can vary because of several factors:

  • Age – the longer a tree stays healthy and alive the longer it is storing carbon
  • Stage of growth – as a tree matures, the amount of new carbon absorbed from the atmosphere slows down
  • Species – each species of tree has a different wood density
  • Size – in general the bigger the tree, the more carbon it stores
  • Soil type – this can affect the rate at which a tree grows and its long-term health
  • What happens when the tree dies – carbon is gradually released into the soil or back into the atmosphere and can be absorbed by other trees and plants. Trees that are cut for timber lock up carbon until the timber product begins to break down. Trees that are burnt for fuel immediately release carbon back into the atmosphere.

We will be working out how much carbon the new trees are helping to remove from the atmosphere over their lifetime.

We will also try to minimise the amount of carbon used to establish the trees. For example, by minimising soil disturbance and the use of plastics and herbicides.

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