Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Where can I find reliable information about CO2 captured per year by trees of various species?

A great deal of data has been done on the CO2 capture rate of individual tree species. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to compare this information across species, for a number of reasons:
  1. Individual tree species have different efficiency ratios due to their physiology. This means that some trees are better equipped in absorbing carbon from the air than others. This said, can we compare a giant redwood and a banana tree? They may have similar efficiency rates, but there biomass (i.e. the area with which they can capture carbon), growth rates etc are not comparable.
  2. Same species are found in different environmental conditions. You may find that one species e.g. bitter orange, found in different environmental conditions are more suited for carbon capture, depending on levels of sunshine, CO2 concentrations, rainfall, soil conditions, etc.
  3.  Number of species will make a difference. Even though you can compare individual tree species against one another, it is difficult to compare scales of density. For example, even though a blue gum may be more efficient at capturing atmospheric carbon than a pine species, is it possible compare the effects of a blue gum stand of 500 trees, versus an arboreal forest of 100 000 pine trees?

Current research (Europe and USA)
The US Department of Forestry has listed several tree species as the most effective in terms of carbon sequestration (in boreal forests). Species include: Common Horse-chestnut, Black Walnut, American Sweetgum, Ponderosa Pine, Red Pine, White Pine, London Plane, Hispaniolan Pine, Douglas Fir, Scarlet Oak, Red Oak, Virginia Live Oak and Bald Cypress.

Researchers at the University of Sevilla further tested tree species and found that the Aleppo Pine is able to capture an average of 48000 CO2 kg per year, while the Stone Pine can absorb 27 000 CO2 kg per year.

Forests with high species diversity in tropical locations seem to have the highest levels of carbon sequestration efficiency. Check out this article on world forests acting as carbon sinks.

Other good resources regarding this question can be found at:

No comments:

Post a Comment