Online Tool Helps Calculate Carbon Sequestration of Trees

By Charlie Nardozzi

Much of the talk about reducing the effects of global warming has revolved around the amount of carbon dioxide that gets emitted into the atmosphere. One way to reduce CO2 emissions to plant more trees. Trees sequester, or store, carbon in their branches, leaves, roots, and trunks, reducing the amount that can contribute to the earth's warming. But a question that often arises is, "Which trees should I plant for the best carbon sequestration?"

Now researchers at U.S Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center are offering an online tool to help homeowners determine the amount of carbon sequestered in specific trees. They measured the size and growth of 5000 trees in six California growing zones to create the tool. To use the calculator simply enter the tree's climate zone, species, size, and age and the spreadsheet will calculate the amount of carbon dioxide stored in the tree this past year and for its lifetime. The tool can also determine energy savings from growing trees to shade buildings in summer or allow sun to warm buildings in winter. Although presently only applicable to California, in 2009 data for other tree species in climate regions across the U.S. will be added.

For more information on the tree carbon calculator, go to: U.S. Forest Service Climate Change Resource Center.

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