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A  lovely twisting tree stands proud, as part of the fight against man-made climate change

A lovely twisting tree stands proud, as part of the fight against man-made climate change

I was walking in the woods yesterday and found this lovely, twisting tree on the riverbank.  It’s in a newish planting (2006) of native woodland trees so it is surrounded by young ash, oak, alder and willow to create a small, but dynamic, native habitat.  The woodland is also part of a scheme to capture atmospheric carbon dioxide and ‘sequester’, or store, it to help to fight climate change from man-made greenhouse gases.  The right trees in the right environments are a fantastic way to store CO2, through photosynthesis and storing the products of photosynthesis as bark, leaves and branches.  It’s good to see these schemes becoming more common, and let’s hope they are a  successful part of the armoury in our battle against the worst excesses of man-made climate change. More information about this small woodland in Dumfries and Galloway, and the carbon sequestration scheme it is part of, can be found at the VisitWoods website.

In fact, trees are such good absorbers of CO2 that some geo-engineering schemes have developed artificial trees.   It has been calculated that around ten million artificial trees could remove 3.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide a year – about 10% of our global annual carbon dioxide emissions.   However, although artificial trees are considered to be  more ‘efficient’ at capturing CO2, there is also the issue of what to do with the stored CO2.  Natural trees convert this to stored woody biomass; the captured CO2 from artificial trees could be converted into ‘syngas’ as a power source to replace fossil fuels, or a liquid fuel.

So, OK, artificial trees sound good in principle, and they might be able to capture more CO2, but in terms of character, beauty, biodiversity, seasonality and function they could never replace the real thing.  Where would the birds nest, for starters?

So I think I’ll stick with the real thing, thank you, and do my best to reduce my carbon footprint in the first place.  And I’ll also support schemes such as tree planting to help absorb our CO2 and make the world a nicer place – for us, as well as the birds.  And insects.  Small mammals too.  Oh, and the lichens and fungi…………….

Artificial trees - might be good for taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, but where would the birds sit?

Artificial trees – might be good for taking CO2 out of the atmosphere, but where would the birds nest?

 

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