WE NEED THOSE TREES! WE ARE WATCHING!
Carbon sequestration presents the easiest, and arguably, the cheapest weapon in our struggle to stabilize global heating. Trees naturally capture carbon and store it long term in their trunks and roots. Our global heating has reached a crisis sooner than expected partly because so many of our forests have been willfully destroyed. The climate change has also caused droughts and wildfires that have destroyed millions of acres of forests.
Our first task is to conserve the existing trees. We need to plant trees, millions of trees, but these will need to grow for at least a decade to make a significant difference. The amount of carbon sequestered is proportionate to the size of the trunk and roots. The new trees will not help in the next decade which scientists say is the crucial period for climate action.
You can support conservation organizations and you can elect officials who support conservation. You can be most effective in your own community. Your local tree commission or forester determines who can cut down which trees. The guidelines will vary enormously between municipalities and counties. This is a sphere in which you and a few friends or a small organization (garden club, church group, PTA, scout troop etc.) can wield significant influence.
What regulations determine who can cut down a tree? Who makes those rules? A tree should only be cut down if it is diseased, imminently threatening a structure or is an invasive exotic. Developers should be required to protect areas of forest significantly greater than any they destroy. Just showing an interest in the regulations will alert local government. They may have been using the same regulations for decades without a thought. First let them know that you care, and you are watching.
Victoria Bergesen, Climate Control