Nature's Carbon Cleaners: Unveiling the Power of Trees in Reducing Emissions

Nature's Carbon Cleaners: Unveiling the Power of Trees in Reducing Emissions, written for The Walleye

By Erin Moir, Co-Executive Director, EcoSuperior

As a country, Canada ranks in the top 10 of the world's worst emissions emitters. When we go about our daily lives, we create a carbon footprint.  Your carbon footprint is a measurement of carbon dioxide (and methane) generated by your actions.  The average carbon footprint is about 16 tons per person/year.

Luckily for us there are elements of the Boreal Forest that work to alleviate the impacts of climate change.  Trees, for example, contribute as windbreaks, reducing soil erosion and evaporation from wind.  Trees act as natural cooling by providing shade. They also purify the air and help filter water.  Most importantly, trees are considered carbon sinks; they absorb more carbon dioxide than they put into the atmosphere.

Forests can be a natural ally against rising emissions and slowing climate change. Spanning 1.3 billion acres, the Boreal Forest is the Earth's largest terrestrial carbon storehouse, storing 208 billion tons of carbon, or 11% of the world's total.

To elevate the work of the forest in reducing rising GHG emissions, we can ensure that different species are evenly distributed, and the right species are planted. . Some species are better at helping fight climate change than others such as the Eastern White Pine.   The Eastern White Pine is a long-living tree that allows for years of carbon absorption.  Broadleaf, deciduous species like poplars and maples absorb less carbon in their younger, slower growing years but can match a conifer by about year 50.

How can we reduce our carbon footprint?  Consider more sustainable modes of transportation like walking, biking, and transit for getting to work, school, and errands. It's healthier for people and the planet!

Stop idling!  Running your vehicle for more than 30 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting, plus for every 10 minutes your vehicle is not running you'll prevent 1lb of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

Eat more plant-based meals, reduce food waste, and compost to help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that affect climate change. 

Lastly, plant some trees!  One tree can absorb upwards of 10kg of carbon dioxide in its first 20 years.  In Spring 2024 EcoSuperior will be hosting a tree planting event to help offset the carbon cost of hosting the Ontario Winter Games.

Understanding your carbon footprint can help reduce your impact. Check out an online carbon footprint calculator like this


Posted in Read More by on 4/4/2024 2:46:38 PM
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