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Sequestration in its concept is very complex which has been
applicable to rates though vary greatly in consideration of age,
composition, location of any forests and soil type. This provoking
presentation seeks to question and recapture the view of how much
CO2 does a tree take up? The emergence of climate change and global
warming has been identied by scientist and occur frequently. This
phenomenon is been triggered by anthropogenic (human) activities
thereby the discharge of large amounts of greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere. In a general scientic term, one way of reducing the
emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is to store carbon
or CO2 in any medium other than the atmosphere. The biological and
geological mediums are two major and vast different ways of carbon
sequestration. Land and forests have been accounted huge potential
source of storing and referred as natural scrubbers or natures “carbon
sinks”. The process of photosynthesis permits green plants to uptake
CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it into organic carbon as they
grow and in turn organic carbon is converted back to CO2 when it
is eaten or decomposed known as the process of respiration. This
is to say, activities that increase photosynthesis and/or decreases
respiration is regarded of great advantage in the global carbon
reduction. Terrestrial and mostly trees (plants) store the most carbon
because of large volume storage and long–lived storage. Various parts
of plants as trunks, leaves, wood, roots as well as the soil in which
the plants are xed as do not decompose or burn, stores carbon from
the atmosphere. Plants of all categories as well as non tilled elds
and grasslands are carbon sinks and storage and thereby store organic
carbon in the soil. On global rating, soil carbon sequestration could
offset as much as 15 percent of fossil fuel emissions. This mini review
paper hereby supports activities that have carbon sinking benets such
as improved soil quality, increased crop yields, and some wildlife
habitat conservation approaches.
The critical concern on the role of soil and forests in the
global carbon budget and effects of carbon sequestration has been
incorporated in international treaties. In Article 3.4 of the Kyoto
protocol, soil and forests has been identied as a potential sink of
carbon which various nations tends to establish greenhouse gas
inventories and carbon management authorities. This review paper
is signicant in understanding the potential for forests to sequester
carbon as a major terrestrial sequestration agent. The main factors of
C disturbance include forest management, res, oods, deforestation,
reforestation, agricultural practices and drainage.
Key denitions of carbon sequestration were presented. Theories
in calculation from plant growth stages and maple–beech–birch forests
and white and red pine forests (25 and 120 years) while reecting to
world agro forestry sequestration calculation.
Estimates of amount of CO sequestered annually by
Tropical climates support greatly the sequestration of atmospheric
carbon dioxide and documented at an average of 50 pounds of carbon
dioxide per tree per year. It is provoking that not much research and
investigation has been conducted on plant species especially in the
tropical forests. Generally, the rate of carbon sequestration depends
on plant growth characteristics of individual tree species, the density
of the tree’s wood, and the conditions for growth where the tree is
planted and plant stage–that is to say the greatest sequestration stage
is in the younger stages of tree growth, between 20 to 50 years.1 A
rough calculation and estimate the amount of CO2 sequestered in a
Forest Res Eng Int J. 2018;2(3):148‒150. 148
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Carbon sequestration: how much can forestry
Volume 2 Issue 3 - 2018
Egbuche Christian Toochi
Department of Forestry and Wildlife Technology, Federal
University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria
Correspondence: Egbuche Christian Toochi, Department
of Forestry and Wildlife Technology, Federal University of
Technology Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria,
Received: March 03, 2018 | Published: May 31, 2018
This mini paper reviewed key principles of carbon sequestration in the concept and
quest to understand that land and forests have been accounted huge potential source
of storing and referred as natural scrubbers or natures “carbon sinks”. Generally,
in scientific term, one way of reducing the emissions of carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere is to store carbon or CO2 in any medium other than the atmosphere.
This paper outlines the main definition and estimates of amount of CO sequestered
annually by plants while determining the total (green) weight of the tree, determine the
weight of carbon in the tree and the weight of carbon dioxide sequestered in the tree.
Prominent evaluation examples involve maple–beech–birch forests and white and red
pine forests (25 and 120 years) while reflecting to world agro forestry sequestration
calculation. Furthermore, the paper discusses the key process of trees as collectors of
CO2: chemistry of the action. The mini review concludes the assertion and supported
by UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the global order of
Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM).
Keywords: carbon sequestration, forestry, carbon dioxide, carbon sinks, UNFCC
Forestry Research and Engineering: International Journal
Mini Review Open Access
Carbon sequestration: how much can forestry sequester CO2? 149
Citation: Toochi EC. Carbon sequestration: how much can forestry sequester CO2?. Forest Res Eng Int J. 2018;2(3):148‒150.
T (CO2)/tage, = Arate
T(CO2)–estimated amount of CO2 sequestered in a given tree
/tage–divide by the age of the particular tree
Arate–annual sequestration rate.
In considering the various mechanisms of understanding carbon
sequestration in plant species, some basic student learning process
identied in determining carbon sequestration capacity in any given
tree species2 as in Figure 1.
Figure 1 The various mechanisms of understanding carbon sequestration in
plant species, some basic student learning process identied in determining
carbon sequestration capacity.
Determine the total (green) weight of the tree
Depending on the tree species,2 a simple algorithm can be applied
to weigh any tree species as below
W = Above–ground weight of the tree in pounds
D = Diameter of the trunk in inches
H = Height of the tree in feet
Determine the weight of carbon in the tree
The average carbon content is generally 50% of the tree’s total
volume.3 Therefore, in determining the weight of carbon in the tree,
multiply the dry weight of the tree by 50%.
Determine the weight of carbon dioxide sequestered
in the tree
Chemical composition of CO2 means and that composed of
one molecule of Carbon and 2 molecules of Oxygen. The atomic
weight of Carbon is 12.001115. The atomic weight of Oxygen is
15.9994. In line with the documentaries of4,5 the weight of CO2 in
trees is determined by the ratio of CO2 is C+2*O=43.999915 to C is
43.999915/12.001115=3.6663 therefore, to determine the weight of
carbon dioxide sequestered in the tree, multiply the weight of carbon
in the tree by 3.6663.
Northeast, maple–beech–birch forests
a) 25 year old forest: 12,000lbs of carbon/25 = 480 lbs of C per acre
per year x 44/12 =1,760lbs of CO2 per acre per year
b) 120 year old forest: 128,000lbs of carbon/120 = 1,066 lbs of C
per year per acre x 44/12 =3,909lbs of CO2 per acre per year
c) 25 year old forest: 1,760lbs of CO2 per acre per year/700 trees
= average of 2.52lbs of CO2 per tree per year (rounded to 3
d) 120 year old forest: 3,909lbs of CO2 per year per acre =
average of 5.58lbs of CO2 per tree per year
Northeast, white and red pine forests
i. 25 year old forest: 67,000 lbs of carbon/25 = 2,680 lbs of C per
acre per year x 44/12 = 9,826 lbs of CO2 per acre per year / 700
= average of 14 lbs of CO2 per year per tree (rounded to 15 lbs)
ii. 120 year old forest: 246,000 lbs of carbon/120 = 2,050 lbs of C
per acre per year x 44/12 = 7,516 lbs of CO2 per acre per year /
700 = average of 11.7 lbs of CO2 per year per tree.
Source: Forests and Global Change,6 world Agroforestry Centre’s
“Agroforestry Database” and how much a Calliandra calothyrsus
might sequester in a year. This is based on an extension publication
from the University of Nebraska.7
Note: Tree density varies, and an average is always taken in
trees per acre (from DOE’s “Sector–Specic Issues and Reporting
Methodologies Supporting the General Guidelines for the Voluntary
Reporting of Greenhouse Gases under Sections 1605(b) of the Energy
Policy Act of 1992”)
The process of trees as collectors of CO2: chemistry
of the action
All green plants, trees assimilate CO2 from the atmosphere through
the process of photosynthesis. The simple sugar molecules that are
initially formed from CO2 are then combined to produce cellulose,
as well as lignin in the case of woody plant organs. Much of the
carbon that is assimilated through photosynthesis is released again
as CO2 through respiration–the energy costs associated with growth
maintenance of living material. The remaining carbon is allocated
to leaf, root, seed, and wood and branch biomass. At an annual
timescale, the carbon associated with short–lived components of
woodland is returned to the atmosphere through decomposition, with
only a proportion of xed carbon being retained in the longer term as
wood. The process of photosynthesis converts two chemicals; carbon
dioxide and water into simple carbohydrates, using sunlight as the
energy source. The process takes place within the leaf and other green
surfaces of plants. However, only part of the radiant energy from the
sun is used in this way. At best, a plant can convert only about 6%
of the total incoming radiation into stored energy. Water enters the
plant mainly through the roots and brings with it essential nutrients.
Carbon dioxide enters as a gas, mainly through holes (stomata) on
plant leaves. Stomata open in response to light, but close in the dark
and in response to adverse conditions such as lack of water or high
temperature. When a crop is growing vigorously and other constraints,
a daily inow, via the stomata, of over 150kg/ha carbon dioxide is
needed. The amount contained in the air above the crop to a height of
over 20 meters. Water is lost from plants while the stomata are open,
sometimes over 100t/ha each day.
It is noted that Kyoto protocol 1979 stated the need for terrestrial
ecosystems especially growing trees to sequester carbon. Different
vegetation and plant species, soils and forest management regimes
inuences the potential of trees in their capacity to sequester carbon.
The increasing climate change scenario and warmer climatic condition
as well as human anthropogenic activities have positioned climate and
global change ecology as an agenda. This assertion was supported
Carbon sequestration: how much can forestry sequester CO2? 150
Citation:Toochi EC. Carbon sequestration: how much can forestry sequester CO2?. Forest Res Eng Int J. 2018;2(3):148‒150.
by UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC)
and the global order of Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM).
Furthermore, this presentation is response to the provoking demand
for basic knowledge for carbon sequestration in the context of how
much forestry has contributed in CO2 management. IPCC also took
cognisance of land use, soil management, and forestry as effective
means for global carbon emissions. Brown et al.,8 documented that
global forestation programs 345 million ha of plantation and agro
forestry would account to 60–87Gtc equivalent to 12–15 percent
of cumulated fossil fuel and deforestation emissions. Generally, it
is accepted that trees do sequester carbon. Forestry poses a strong
potential as a means of mitigating measure of greenhouse effect.
Climate change, re and forest owners also constitute a burden to
forest sequestration capacity of CO2. Salient factors from carbon
sequestration and forestry are as follows:
i. Forest as a potential carbon scrubber is considered to be cost
ii. Tropical forest may absorb more CO2
iii. Proper land and forest management supports larger terrestrial CO2
sink thereby supports afforestation
iv. Fast growing vegetation species and fertile lands are major benets
v. Generally, forestry in relative terms abates climate change, gas
emissions and absorbs larger chunk of CO2.
This review paper provides an appropriate platform for the
development of eld based research project thereby a major support
to knowledge and scientic understanding of CO2 sequestration.
Conict of interest
Author declares there is no conict of interest.
This Mini–Review attracted some calculation methodology in
which practitioners have identied the complexity of accounting and
calculating the carbon sequestration by trees in an annual rate rather
this has provided some useful insight of understanding that trees do
sequester carbon. The author acknowledges all authors, websites and
institutions that provided these basic calculation and information
meant for more contribution to knowledge especially in this era of
global change ecology.
2. Clark A, Saucier JR, McNab WH. Total–Tree Weight, Stem Weight, and
Volume Tables for Hardwood Species in the Southeast. USA: Georgia
Forestry Commission; 1986. p. 1–52.
3. De Wald S, Josiah S, Erdkamp B. Heating With Wood: Producing,
Harvesting and Processing Firewood. USA: University of Nebraska–
Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources;
5. Birdsey RA. Carbon Storage and Accumulation in United States Forest
Ecosystems. USA: General Technical Report (GTR); 1992.
6. Sampson N, Hair D. Forests and Global Change: Forest management
opportunities for mitigating carbon emissions. USA: American Forests;
7. Myers N, Goreau TJ. Tropical Forests and the Greenhouse Effect: A
Management Response. Jamaica: University of the West Indies; 1991.
8. Brown S, Sathaye J, Cannell MGR. Management of forest for
mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. In climate change 1995
Impacts, Adaptation and mitigation of climate change. In: Watson RT,
et al. editors. UK: Cambridge University Press; 1996. p. 773–797.