Why Agroforestry Is The Key To Making Carbon Offsetting Work
Trees are carbon sinks, but not all trees are equal. Here's how we make them more effective.
Thu 10 Sept 2020
Tree planting and rewilding are two natural ways we can all combat the rise in carbon emissions. This research has mapped out how 1 trillion trees could be planted, reshaping our environment and helping combat rising emissions.
Trees are a carbon sink, each one can lock away tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime.
It's thought that one acre of new forest can sequester about 2.5 tons of carbon annually, if it's the right forest.
But not all tree planting is created equal. Planting trees in the wrong place, the wrong species or not caring for them over their 10 years + lifeetime negates the good intention and money spent on them in the first place. It can take up to a decade for each tree to fulflll its carbon absorbing potential - tree planting is a long term strategy not a quick fix.
Taking a more invested, holistic approach is key - which is where agroforesty comes in.
What does Agroforestry mean?
Planting in an agroforestry system means planting a combination of tree species that can help each other grow.
Each tree brings unique benefits to the surrounding environment, to the farmers and to its neighbouring trees.
For example, banana trees and cacao trees go together really well.
Did you know banana tree leaves grow at an incredible rate and when the tree is adult, they can grow to be 5 meters in length and 50+ centimeters in width.
The cacao tree however is a very delicate tree, highly sensitive to variations in temperature, humidity and light.
The most natural way to protect a cacao tree is to plant it next to a banana tree so that it can grow in the shade of its leaves.
These two trees are just like certain couples who have such different personalities that compliment each other.
Agroforestry helps tree planting projects respond to the environment
The realisation of small agroforestry systems allows projects to make precise choices in relation to the specific characteristics and needs of each project area.
The tree species that are planted should be native or respect the biodiversity of the different territories. An agroforestry practice also integrates the planting of trees in an agricultural system, favouring the virtuous interaction between the different species and a sustainable use of resources and land.
Agroforestry also supports farmers
Tree planting companies like Treedom work with farmers to support so that there are both environmental benefits and social impact that improves lives.
When establishing their projects, they work in partnership with local NGOs to identify farmers that will benefit the most from planting trees.
They provide training in agroforestry and sustainable land management, distributing saplings that will not only support local biodiversity, but that will also improve the lives of the farmers and their families.
The farmers own the trees, and the fruits they produce, and so are offered food security, empowerment and additional income - in some cases, enables them to go on to launching their own micro-entrepreneur initiatives.
So far, Treedom has planted over 1.2 million trees, but those trees have impacted the lives of over 75,000 farmers.
See here to find out how pebble is working with Treedom to plant our own pebble forest in Kenya.