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Join Date: Sep 2006
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CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/27/2006 5:05 AM

I have been in touch recently on this with you

The feedback I have received lead me to believe there is merit in the idea!!

So much effort is being placed on reducing CO2 emmisions, and I agree with this.

But could we also concentrate on absorption as well!!

I believe, from what I have received from you so far, that CO2 is possible and practical

I have plans to undertake a PhD, based on action research, in this area

PLEASE LET ME HAVE YOUR COMMENTS!!

MIKE

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#1

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/27/2006 6:52 AM

I seem to remember some work has been carried out on this topic way back when I was at university in the early 70s.

I'm sure the reasearchers found that the greatest CO2 absorption was by the fastest growing plants and in particular bamboo, as this grows at an incredible rate, in the right conditions of course!

The object was to determine the best way to 'lock in' the atmospheric CO2 into the ground....

I think the researchers dismissed trees purely because the wood from a tree would most probably be burnt and so releasing the CO2 back into the atmosphere......

My memory, however, could be wrong...

John.

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#39
In reply to #1

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

10/31/2009 12:32 PM

Trees absorb varying amounts of CO2 (1-150lb/year aproximately) based on type, size/age, and environment. However, a general estimate of 50lbs/year per tree

could be used for calculations. okieprof@gmail.com

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#56
In reply to #1

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/16/2011 9:12 AM

If logic and compassion (instead of greed for power and wealth) ruled our decision processes, the problems of energy and pollution in the world could seriously be impacted. Nuclear (has its problems but very effective), geothermal, and solar energy appear to be viable methods to solve these concerns.

I see little promise in growing trees to control atmospheric carbon dioxide and thus global temperature (what plants taketh they giveth back), but they are very significant to temporarily maintain precipitation (emitting approximately 50 gal(l)/day tree ~ important for crops etc.) and atmospheric water vapor (much more effective than CO2 in controlling global temperature ~ if we knew which way it was changing)

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#2

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/27/2006 11:19 PM

The key to this is preventing the carbon from re-entering the atmosphere. Quick growing plants such as bamboo will take up carbon at a high rate, but you have to find a use or market that dosn't involve burning or returning to the land. You may be better to use slower growing but more useful crops such as pines or native trees which also live longer, unless you plan on stockpiling millions of tonnes of bamboo in a bamboo warehouse somewhere.

Maybe the rules of golf should be changed to require cane shafts, I think Tiger would still dominate though.

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Anonymous Poster
#3
In reply to #2

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/28/2006 12:28 AM

Get ready to starve. Our only source of food on this planet is atmospheric carbon dioxide and water fixed by plants as carbohydrate in photosynthesis. It feeds all of the animals, including man. Trees are a good sink of carbon dioxide, but everyone has missed the largest sink of all: marine algae. And the oxygen given off during photosynthesis is our basis for life also. 75%, more or less, of this planet is covered by water, in which live plants of various sizes. On land, the primary limiting factor to photosynthesis is availability of water. In the oceans, the limiting factor is the carbon dioxide content of seawater. As the carbon dioxide concentration in the air increases, so does its partial pressure, causing more to dissolve in seawater, increasing photosynthesis by marine algae, effectively setting an upper limit to the maximum concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Another sink in the oceans is the presence of calcium ions, which precipitate excess carbon dioxide as calcium carbonate (limestone). So don't be too quick to interefere with a major natural cycle on which all our lives depend...George F. Oerther, Jr. oertg@aol.com

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#7
In reply to #3

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/28/2006 10:13 AM

What would be the effect of a (or many) independent floating solar cell powered pumps that would pump air down into the sea. It would probably result in an increase in co2 in both the water itself and in marine algae. The air would have to be released away from the vertical line of the floating pump, or the reduction in bouyancy would possibly result in sinking the floating pump. (nothing is ever as simple as it first seems)

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#18
In reply to #7

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

04/03/2007 7:17 AM

Given the mass of the oceans and the inadequate mixing (seawater composition varies widely across the surface) there is likely to be a substantial delay between the action and the reaction.

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#11
In reply to #3

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/29/2006 4:33 AM

Dear Guest,

I am very interested in your comments.

My thinking to date has concentrated on reducing the levels of CO2; are you saying that we need to restrict this because of the affect this has on the sea!!

This is a new one which I have not considered so far.

Please let me have more of your thoughts.

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Anonymous Poster
#36
In reply to #11

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

02/18/2009 1:07 AM

Dear Sir,

I am doing work on redusing levels of Carbon from atmosphere.

your idea is good, but try to get more collection from sources, then automatically you will reduce the the carbon concentration from atmosphere, for that you fiond some equipment which is absorb the carbon moleculs efficiently. because we are facing more problems with carbon molecules like Global Warming.

Thanking you,

Regards,

RAJU. A

M.TECH- Environmental Management.

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#31
In reply to #3

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

06/26/2008 3:48 PM

I would venture that the CO2 is not the true problem but the sulfates from burning the various fuels. We don't want to trap CO2 we want to make the CO2 work for us, grow food, make oxygen, provide cleaner power generation and so on.

As a plant grows it converts CO2 into a sugar and O2, we should be able to maximize the conversion and growth and be able to clean up our atmosphere and feed more people.

If we setup to grow food crops using optimum levels of CO2 for growth and conversion. Use the waste products to fuel power generation and fertilizer.

Methane power generation will produce less greenhouse gases. We capture the exhaust and reuse the CO2 and convert or recombine the Sulfates to a safer or more usable form and use the CO2 for growing ... and so on.

Ultimately we should be able to lower the bad gases and maximise the use of the rest. The more the CO2 is recycled the less time it spends in the atmosphere and is essentially controlled. This can also be applied to extra-solar habitation as the process could be a way to feed, fuel and oxygenate the astronauts.

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/28/2006 6:13 AM

Geoff, the whole idea was to lock up the CO2 in the bamboo plant and then to return the bamboo to the ground where it can degrade naturally still with the CO2 locked in....

So there is no problem with storage, afterall that is how the oil and coal seams were laid down many millions of years ago.... Its only through burning the oil and coal have we released the locked CO2 back into the atmosphere.

Because trees are so slow at growing they were mainly discounted, especially as the wood takes so long to degrade naturally and can be used as a fuel, defeating the purpose.

John.

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#17
In reply to #4

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

04/03/2007 7:15 AM

"Defeat" is inappropriate. Plants fix carbon dioxide short-term, so anything they release upon being used as a fuel will be absorbed during growth, using a gross simplification that the amount of carbon fixed is constant. Fossils are carbon that was fixed a long time ago.

Biofuels are renewable over a few tens of years.

For fossils, it's a few tens of millions...

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#5
In reply to #2

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/28/2006 7:19 AM

You said - 'Maybe the rules of golf should be changed to require cane shafts, I think Tiger would still dominate though.'

As a reluctant European (Being a true Brit) I'm afraid to have to say 'RYDER CUP!'

Ahem....Sorry!

Seriously though, get bamboo more into the gardening market. It's already used as an ornamental plant; push it for its CO2 absorption benefits.

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Anonymous Poster
#6
In reply to #5

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/28/2006 9:37 AM

There are also a lot of uses for bamboo in home construction; in fact, I believe I've seen an article somewhere that describes someone building an entire home from Bamboo...

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/28/2006 1:02 PM

You can make Bamboo grow square ! So it then becomes a very good structural member. And while it is growing, the shoots can be fed to cattle. Lots of applications some of which will no doubt end up back in the atmosphere. But on balance a saver.

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#9
In reply to #8

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/28/2006 3:25 PM

I was looking at bamboo flooring. Other than being more resistant to moisture than regular wood flooring and the blond bamboo color, it was similar in appearance to regular wood flooring.

I don't think a mature forest is a net CO2 reducer. What CO2 is taken out of the air for plant sustenance, is released back into the air as the dead biomass at the floor of the forest rots. Termites are probably the largest terrestrial source of CO2.

Environmentalists have claimed that baby diapers are clogging our land fills and that diapers are predicted to last for thousands of years in the land fill -- and therefore are a bad thing. However, as diapers are mostly a cellulous product, this would seem to be a desirable coincidence of convenience and the positive environmental effect of reducing CO2.

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#38
In reply to #2

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/22/2009 9:22 AM

Why stockpile, build with bamboo, its tensile strength is greater than regular wood. It looks better lasts longer and is more resistant to bug infestation and is an easily sustainable resource.

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Anonymous Poster
#10

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/28/2006 5:25 PM

I know we are all worried about atmospheric CO2 and global warming; perhaps, we are too terrestrial, so we think that trees and plants are the best option for CO2 absorption or sequestration, but we forget that oceans are the main places were this process happens, made up by fitoplankton, coral and sea animals which use shells containing calcium carbonate CaCO3. The CO2 dilutes in water forming carbonic acid H2CO3 (same as in sodas), then calcium displaces hydrogen. Now, Coral reefs have survived for hundreds of million years, capturing carbon dioxide for all this long time. The length of the great barrier coral reef in Australia is over 1,500 miles, and it forms the most rich ecosystem of the sea supporting many different species. Maybe, global warming will spread coral reefs to higher latitudes, and a self regulating mechanism begin to fix the CO2 content in the air. We must take care of our oceans before it is too late.

Check this link if you wish http://www.seaworld.org/animal-info/info-books/coral/coral-reefs.htm

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/29/2006 6:46 AM

Is there an ocean equivalent to trees that mankind could cultivate which may speed up the process of CO2 absorption/balance??

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#13
In reply to #12

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/29/2006 8:38 AM

Maybe some of these over saturated seas and large bodies of water that cannot support natural aquadic life. Such as the Great Salt Lake in Utah, or any other over balanced body of water. If there was a push to create large basins of water across the country in key areas of large populations.

Bamboo can be made into wall mats for soundproofing and insulation into homes. There are several uses in the housing industry that can support mass growth of this product.

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#65
In reply to #12

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

12/31/2011 11:14 AM

Pick an algae ... some are edible some can produce various fuels others can be used as animal feed, some can be used as building material. all in all a algae bioreactor type idea wouldnt need an extensively large area.

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#66
In reply to #65

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/30/2012 12:10 PM

Phytoplankton also plays a large role in the CO2 cycle. However, remember it is a cycle!

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#14

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

09/29/2006 11:48 AM

Land based plants sequester CO2 only until they degrade at which time some is uptaken in the microbiota associated with that activity and much is release through aerobic repiration as the material is degraded (coal is formed in reductive conditon not conducive to typical plant production, e.g. swamps). Algae is killing th Great Barrier Reef, you would never get a the world governments to agree to kill all the reefs in favor of higher algae content in the oceans. Since dead algae mostly releases CO2 (Some may settle to deep oceans and the CO2 released gets trapped and forms CaCO3), the way to increase the carbon sequestered by algae is to increase the algae content. The longest most stable means of sequestration is likely geologic. All Limestone and Dolostone is composed predominantly of carbonates. Injection of CO2 into deep oceans could increase the formation of carbonates on the ocean floor, but would increase the ocean CO2 content also and destroy existing habitats (probably not vey popular). Deep injection below soil and rock could retain the CO2, and allow it to react and form carbonate rock with the surrounding parent rock. (Carbonic acid reacts with igneous rock dissolving it, releasing calcium and magnesium and neutralizing the acid, calcium and magnesium precipitate form carbonates, underpressure, limestone is formed). The only large extended sink for CO2 is carbonate rocks, all other sinks are in equilibrium with the atmosphere (oceans and plants), temporary (oceans and plants) and/or in relatively small quatities (oil and coal).

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#15

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

11/03/2006 11:01 AM

I think undertaking a PhD in this area would be a great idea! As you can see from the various posts, the issue is not simple, by any means, and requires the sort of intensive study you have in mind.

I like the bamboo idea. I think an engineered bamboo product could be a really excellent building material. Other possibilities would be various grasses (the ones we normally think of as grasses, but also corn, sugar cane, etc.). These could be used as fuel sources through a processing chain that would leave carbon unattached to O2, I'd guess. Or... even if these fuels were burned directly as hydrocarbons, at least we'd be reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, and as we burn the fuel, growing plants would be taking in the CO2. It would take a look at the Krebs cycle, etc., but I'd think if we could convert all fuel consumption to plant based, the CO2 creation and absorption rates would be equal??

The flip side is that there may not be enough land mass for land based plants -- I hear that said, but don't know if there is any truth to it, if the plants are fast growing, quickly harvested, and replanted.

Of course, plants are solar energy storage devices. It seems the real key is to go more directly from solar to usable energy. Passive and active solar heating of buildings works well. It seems that solar to electric (directly or via wind, which is also solar-powered) has a tremendous amount of room for improvement.

Another possibility is to go directly to the root cause… how do we control overpopulation? I fear we have too many people for our small world already. How do we muster the political will to simply feed the people here already, something which we can do right now, but nevertheless do not. Estimates range from 4 million to 16 million a year dieing from starvation. Here in the US, we are far more concerned about the <.01% of that figure killed on 9/11 in NYC.

Ironically, there was recently an article in the press about how a Coca Cola plant somewhere had to shut down for a while, because they could not get enough CO2 for carbonation.

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#16

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

11/12/2006 2:22 PM

I am sure that I have read that burning wood only releases a similar amount of CO2 back into the atmosphere as the tree took to grow, so as long as trees are replaced at a rate slightly faster than they get burnt (taking into account the speed of growth etc etc etc) then you only have a sort of "change of position" of the CO2.

Whereas when fossil fuels get burnt, you add CO2 that was taken out of the atmosphere many millions of years ago.....adding to the problems.....like we now need a lot more trees to be planted to handle that CO2 from fossil fuels!!!

Bamboo is beautiful in floors and furniture I find.......! and hard wearing too...

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#19

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

04/26/2007 5:46 PM

I have just been reading into the CO2 absorption rate latley, and had an apiphany. I am in 12th grade, in northern california. I thought perhaps, to present my school with a program that, our school could "pilot"... and then promote amongst other school's in the US. My idea for a program, was to have certain High School classes (or perhaps a certain grade-level's) particpate in a yearly educational program, dealing with Carbon emissions global warming, and then get the students to particpate is planting bamboo, already had been educating thru the program that bamboo is the worlds fastest growing plant, and a great carbon absorber. If a large number of students planted bamboo one year, and then the next year, tae out those plants and re-plant their own, it would call for great amount of carbon absorption from the atmosphere. I suppose the students could also take part in digging deepholes to store their harvested bamboo to release back into the carbon cycle. I feel like this would be a great-source of education for high-school students, that would do well for the environment too! Also, if this program was highly succesful, it could begin to spread to other schools as well, hopfully until this program could be recognized by every public high-school nationally. If this plan was carried out succesfully, nationally, imagine the great things it could do for our planet. I mean there are 1,184 for high schools' in california, and if the state made this a required program, and each high school planted aproxx. 2.43 acre's (1 hectar) of bamboo a year (as long as my math is correct) that should absorb aproxx. 178,381.44 tons of carbon from the atmosphere yearly. This isnt much, but its a start, plus that would only be the schools in california, if it were done throughout every high school nationally, and perhaps globally one day, this could serve as a key helper in global warming. I could use anyones thought/inputs/questrions/objections, before i begin presenting this to my school's administration. Thank you Cjtracks07@yahoo.com

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

04/26/2007 6:25 PM

I think that is a great idea!

I think it would be better to use the bamboo as a building material (rather than burying it), so that the carbon remains in the wood, rather than working its way into the atmosphere. And replacing some of the wood that otherwise would be hacked out of forests in non-sustainable ways (not that all wood is harvested this way) would also be a good thing. Bamboo flooring is coming into use, and entire houses could be made of the stuff, (as they are in many places in the world). An engineered, standard dimension product could be made so that it could be used in conventional construction.

Bamboo has a reputation for being very invasive among gardeners. But that can be overcome, with some planning, I think... as long as means are provided to prevent it from taking over neighborhoods, I can't see it being problematic.

Good for you! For its education value alone, it would be worth doing.

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#21
In reply to #19

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

04/27/2007 4:59 AM

Go for it!

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#63
In reply to #19

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

12/31/2011 10:43 AM

Why not harvest the bamboo for the wood working class in the high school. you lower the cost of school materiel and provide a portion of the CO2 solution. you could further sell off any excess bamboo for flooring or other wood products and increase the nominal funding the school receives to plant the next crop. Turn it into a self supporting venture with some profit potential. you can also incorporate your science and chemistry classes into the project for a project to maximize growth and find alternative uses for the grown product and provide useful science and chemistry experiments for learning about the real world application of your studies. Heck even doing forecasting and other modeling exercises you could include the math department as well as home economics. Grow enough bamboo you could even replace your gym floor and any other wood products within the school. The options are almost endless and by showing a net savings to the school you could most likely get funding from the local school board and include the business department to prepare the proposal ... you now have most of your school able to contribute to the project and all have some value added learning and real world applications that will make the lessons stick with you. I didnt intend this to be soo long but the options just kept dropping into place .. i am sure with some brain storming the school could add a few dozen more options as well.

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#22

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

06/26/2007 4:12 AM

Im too am fascinated by the concept of CO2 absorption.

However,Iam under the impression that trees will only absorb more CO2 than they emitt at night time during early growth stages. Once mature the CO2 absorbtion in the day is off set by the O2 absorbtion at night therefore net output of CO2 is zero.

Therefore trees are excellent in the fact that they do absorb CO2 for part of their life time and they then store this untill they die. When they are dead they release the Carbon back into the atmosphere through de-composition or burning etc.

Forest are extremly delicate and precise eco systems that were working incredibly efficientl at storing CO2 and releasing at rates that off set each other. Through de-forestation this balance has been up set, therefore I believe precise research needs to be done(it may have been done) to work out if tree are effecivly storing carbon or are they just relesing it all when they de-compose.

I would love you too reply and let me know if you know better cos it would be great to think we could just re-forest the planet and it would solve our problems.

Yours interestedly,

Nial jewson nialjewson@hotmail.com

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#23

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

11/27/2007 3:35 AM

i also thought same but by which way i dont know. I'm PG student from India and i work for the chemical absorbtion of CO2 fron atmosphere to reduce the Green House Effects. Can you ave some idea.

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#24

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

12/18/2007 8:41 AM

I am new to this forum and am fascinated by the discussion. I am a gardener. What can I do in my own backyard that can make a difference? How many trees and plants to I need to have to offset my own carbon footprint? If I plant 100 square feet of clumping bamboo (a personal favorite), how much CO2 will that absorb? Does my compost pile help or hurt the environment? Compost is great for remixing in the soil, but does it release CO2 as it decays? Should I be composting underground?

Any information would be great. Where can I learn more about this?

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#64
In reply to #24

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

12/31/2011 10:54 AM

The answer to your compost pile question is Yes ... in the short term it hurts the environment because of the off gassing emitted while decomposing the vegitation but it also helps because th compost speeds up plant growth when you actually use it which allows for more carbon storage. If you in turn harvest your bamboo for borders edging and various plant structures like a trellis you would eventually be carbon negative or at least neutral. A few US universities have guides and helpful information on maximizing Compost piles and the steps they suggest would be an excellent way to get the most out of your recycled matter.

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#25

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/23/2008 4:12 PM

Hey guys,

I'm also doing some research in this area, and particularly interested in the process of reforestation. Do anybody have some data on the difference in the co2 absorption and storage rates between old and new trees?

Thanks. Alex

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Anonymous Poster
#26

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

03/02/2008 9:25 PM

Hi,

I'm Chrissy and I am doing a school project about the absorption capacity of trees, and I found this discussion; but what I was really wondering was if trees could take in lead either through atmospheric absorption or through acid rain. I was wondering if anyone could explain the process and more specifically what the lead bonded to in order to enter the tree. Any help on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

thanks

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Anonymous Poster
#27

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

04/20/2008 7:33 PM

The discussion on how much CO2 is really sequestered by trees, grasses etc is a very easy one to solve: the vast majority of biomass from any plant or tree is carbon, which comes largely from CO2. hence the increase in biomass per area unit equals your carbon absorption (remember that the oxygen is nicely returned for us to consume).

regarding biofuels: please refrain from supporting any additional planting for biofuel, the world is already agriculturally stretched beyond its capacity, anyone seen the food prices lately, imagine spending 75% of you income on food (more than 1 billion people live like that), and then see staple foods go up 75% in price.... Thios is a direct result of biofuel production, misplaced agricultural subsidies and overconsumption of highly calory ineffecient meat (if you want to reduce you carbon footprint, reducing your meat intake is more effective than any other measures combines) Biofuel from agricutlural waste seems fine, if this waste is currently not being used.

interesting: if we all breathe less, that could save us a lot of Carbon emissions

...

cheers,

Priegel

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Anonymous Poster
#41
In reply to #27

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

12/20/2009 12:06 PM

Though certainly clearing new land to produce biofuels is not a good idea, imagine switching tobacco cultivation to producing crops for biofuels. It's a lot of land dedicated to a worthless and pernicious (though lucrative) product.

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Anonymous Poster
#28

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

04/27/2008 1:33 AM

What about synthetically reproducing the absorption methods of plants and then storing it as we please? Is this not possible? How come I haven't seen anything about this but only the wall scrubbing using acids to trap the CO2. If this would be possible we may even consider "dumping" the gas in space as it may eventually bring the crucial component for some other planet to begin a life cycle.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

04/27/2008 1:50 AM

I also think that we can do this without taking out too much, so as to disturb the natural carbon cycle, but instead we should be able to calculate just how much of an excess we have, and also how much the planet would need to be able to sustain global temperatures and just the right amount. This may eventually mean controlling the weather which would be an enormous feat for mankind, considering how much life, humans, and animals, we could save. If you think about it, we already control nature, we have dams, we have meat processing and indoor plumbing among thousands of other things I could look around at my house and think of..electricity..We weren't given that ability for nothing. I think that now would be the time for us to learn how to better control the environment around us in order to sustain our progress for future life in general on our planet. This may be our only hope. If I were you, I would definitely get a PhD in this field, and really I cant think of a more worthy cause than the ones I've listed above. I would do it but I just started my own business with implications equally as important as this in a completely different field. However I am always getting really good ideas for solving today's problems and I figured Id give someone who's in a position to actually cary this stuff out the opportunity to hear and use my good ideas. Somebody please find out if this is possible, it most certainly should be, the concept is pretty simple.

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#30

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

05/21/2008 10:07 AM

How much CO2, actually dose a bamboo adsorb?

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

06/26/2008 4:16 PM

>How much CO2, actually dose a bamboo adsorb?

After lots of searching there is NO Data Available on individual plant absorption rates and exhausting rates from burning or decomposing. You can find data on average absorption for a type of tree in a forest region but not how much a jack pine will absorb through out its lifecycle.

A small closed greenhouse with one plant type controlled for temperature, pressure, water, light, and various CO2 concentrations would provide a good set of data. The added benefit would be that one could maximize the growth rate by providing the plant with an optimal CO2 concentration. i.e. a head of iceburg lettuce grows fastest with a concentration of Xppm while wheat grows best with Yppm of CO2.

There should be many ways to provide the CO2 needed and we can even use the waste after harvesting for composting and harvest the decomposing gasses for fuel and other uses.

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#33
In reply to #32

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

06/29/2008 1:37 AM

>How much CO2, actually dose a bamboo adsorb?> I have heard that a bamboo forest produces 30% to 38% more oxygen than wood forest. Will that conversion equal the CO2 sequestering? Bamboo, if used to replace some wood products and not just burned, has a unbelievable potential to clean up the air and keep our wood forest growing. One should at least plant some bamboo in their yard to off set our own foot print.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/04/2008 10:26 AM

The faster growing plants will produce more O2 while they are immature but will out gas CO2 and O2 at approximately the same rate once mature. The trick is to harvest the plant at a time just before it is fully mature; with bamboo that could be every few months, with coniferous or deciduous trees it is years.

Producing bamboo for construction is good but what about food for an ever growing population? Why not also grow food crops like lettuce, potatoes, corn, wheat, and all the rest at the same time and optimise their growth with higher CO2 concentrations in green houses or in out of use caverns with the appropriate lighting to grow plants?

Natural pest control can be implemented with the increased CO2 as the majority of the pests that trash food crops need oxygen to thrive and will have a hard time with the increase in CO2 around the food source.

One could make their own dry ice for maintaining a constant temperature in warm climates and use the evaporated CO2 in the greenhouse as well.

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#35

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/15/2008 11:05 AM

I finally found a site that has some absorption rates of CO2 and O2; BUT it's for Composting. The site also has a high school experiment for growth rates with varying levels of compost. You MAY find this usefull from an end of plant life check for total absorption or as a starter for what's going into the plant from the soil.

the Site: http://compost.css.cornell.edu/science.html

I wonder if they would do an experiment to check gas emission volumes from specific plant types in various CO2 level environments?

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#37

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/22/2009 2:29 AM

I have been reading a lot of the comments and many people here seem to be concentrating on bamboo, and some on the down sides of that. firstly, although not common, especially in the western world(because of its native locality) and also in colder climates (due to insufficient common processing of the raw material) bamboo makes a great building material as was mentioned in some above comments, and has potential, if bound into composite lumber, of being many times stronger than the common pine structures found in the west(especially in the states, and my native Canada.) furthermore, why concentrate on one particular plant as the solution. there are many plants, that perhaps may not be the best, but still sequester carbon dioxide. what needs to be done, is using what is best in a particular situation. hemp is another very useful, fast growing plant. in some cases using brackish water may take precedent, so sea grasses may offer the best solution. one of the main arguments i have seen, both here and in any reading material for artificial methods tends to be water and nutrient consumption, but why should this be a problem, when we treat, or dump into the ocean horrifying quantities of waste water every day. plants and bacteria can treat water better than chemicals any day and so long as the plants are not being used for direct consumption, there is no risk to people. i think what holds back a solution to this problem, is everyone's desire to make a buck in the process. there is no 1 solution, diversity is the key, do what you can where you can.

i just want to seperate one comment from the above, because i feel it is an important one.

most artificial methods for capturing CO2 rely on consumeable substances, and/or produce a waste product that may be difficult to contain or dispose of. wasnt this what got us in this problem in the first place?

oh, and as a side note mimicing exactly the process used by plants is beyond our science at the moment, the complex protiens and enzymes required to take H2O and CO2 as well as some trace nutrients, and restructure those into complex hydrocarbons, would require nothing less than an artificial dna molecule. best to concentrate on those that nature already made for us.

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#40

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

10/31/2009 12:44 PM

Trees absorb varying amounts of CO2 (1-150lb/year per tree) depending on type, age/size, and environment; however, 50lbs/year per tree may be used for general calculations. okieprof@gmail.com

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

12/21/2009 1:51 AM

50lbs/year per tree may be used for general calculations.

A sobering thought. My car generates about 50 lb CO2 in one hour. A tree takes a full year to absorb that. My two cars consume about 800 gallons of gas in a year, creating about 16000 lb of CO2. To absorb my CO2 generated just in driving, I'd need 320 trees.

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

12/21/2009 3:14 PM

Check it out for jet planes!

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

12/22/2009 12:11 AM

Let's see... a 747 burns 9200 kg per hour at cruise, producing about 27,000 kg per hour of CO2, I'd estimate. That's about 60,000 lb per hour. That's on the order of 4 times as much CO2 per hour as my two cars create in an entire year. Wow! You'd want to make sure these were always loaded up with plenty of passengers.

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#45

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/09/2010 11:06 PM

I did a little research into this when studying meteorology in college. Like mentioned before the ocean is by far the largest carbon sink on the earth. The ocean is on another scale magnitude then anything terrestrial, so everthing else is a drop in the bucket (but can't hurt). Bamboo is a great idea expecially with running bamboo which can create curtains of forests 100 yards long in a matter of a few years. Another is the Long Leaf Pine which used to cover the entire southeast to Texas before the onset of north american civilization. The long leaf pine is disease resistant, climate change resistant,fire resistant (even necessary), lifetimes in excess of 500 years, and extreme girth after maturation. The only problem is land, fire deprived, foreign species, and long adolencent period.

go for it

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#46

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

06/29/2010 4:33 PM

I have recently been attempting to find which plants sequester the most CO2 due to a recent publication regarding the "Brazillian Pepper" tree. Dr. Margaret Lowman has recently stated in a non-scientific publication that, here in Florida, an acre of Brazillian Pepper trees absorb about 1000 lbs of carbon per year. The publication stated that the same size acre of Sawgrass absorbs about 40 lbs and Slash Pine about 60 lbs. There was no info on Bamboo, but I'm continuing to seek. If anyone has any lists available, I would love to see them.

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#47
In reply to #46

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/06/2010 9:11 AM

I recently came across an article in 'The Ottawa Sun' by Suzanne Elston (QMI Agency) Sun May 16,2010. "IN PRAISE OF TREES" - Calculating a trees CO2 intake.

This is for an Average North American Tree.

1 Weight of tree

- 11" or less girth 0.25 * Diam Sqd * Height

- 11" or more girth 0.15 * Diam Sqd * Height

- Above ground weight * 120%

2 Dry Weight of tree

- Above weight * 72.5%

3 Weight of Carbon in tree

- Above weight * 50%

4 Weight of CO2 trapped in tree

- Weight of Carbon in tree * 3.6663

5 Weight of CO2 sequestered in tree per year

- age of tree div CO2 Weight

E.g.

10 yr old tree 15' tall 8" girth

1) w= 0.25 D2 H = 24o lbs Above ground

240lbs 120% = 288lbs total weight

2) 288lbs 72.5% = 208.8lbs dry weight

3) 208.8lbs 50% = 104.4lbs Carbon

4) 104.4lbs 3.6663 = 382.8lbs CO2

5) 382.8lbs / 10yrs = 38.3lbs of CO2 sequestered per year

... None of these figures or calculations are mine. All are directly from the article mentioned at the top.

I assume the values used for percentages are common approximations and the Constant value used for CO2 calculation has something to do with CO2 weight or something along those lines.

I would like to Know:

1 Is this an accurrate approximation for ANY native North American tree

2 can NON-native NA trees work with this calculation (assuming 1 is true)

3 Why were the various percentages and the one constant needed ?

i.e. 240lbs * 120%

- Is this just a single view approximation to include leaf and root structure as well ?

I hope one of the people who know a tonne or three on this subject will reply and clear up the questions and let us all know if this is a good measure for all to use ?

For Daveioxye:

Assuming this is a good calculation for approximate values. I think this will help you out with what you are looking for.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/06/2010 7:13 PM

The article is probably close for that tree in that environment during that period, but you are making an assumption that is not valid. Would that tree capture the same amount of CO2 over the next ten years?...the answer is no! See my earlier estimate and variables.

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#50
In reply to #48

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/13/2010 10:06 AM

That Is why I posted it, It sounds good, looks good BUT I am NOT a specialist in this area to say the least.

I posted the articles formula the way it was printed in the local paper ... So either the paper messsed up ... the article writer messed up or I messed up in transcribing it (I did recheck the calculations several times and the the order of calculations)

I will assume with a name like Okie Science Prof that you Teach this subject; so can you go over and in point form state why or how the calculations are inccorrect or bad assumptions. Perhaps at the end of that a link or more where a layman can get more information on the same area that is covered by the calculation so One can become better informed.

Thanks in advance

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/13/2010 11:21 AM

Actually Kaboom, my forte is logic...I was an "applied analytic reasoning" major in school, so I can tell you why the article is not really "good" for surmising the carbon sequestration of the trees.

First off, it is generalized. It doesn't take specific trees as there tend to be large differences in the amount they can sequester depending on the genus and species.

Second, we really have no info on "what process the plants use to sequester the CO2". Is it the speed of growth (as I would readily examine due to the ability of Brazilian Pepper, and Bamboo which both grow rapidly in comparison to typical deciduous trees), the size of leaves (as Slash pines have been shown to sequester much less than the Brazillian Pepper), the water intake capability, etc.

Third, does geographical location present a variable? As has been mentioned, there are atmospheric variables (ie. heat, pressure, etc).

Fourth, I don't write botany research papers so there are probably a substantial amount that I'm missing too.

It makes me wonder what kind of scientific evidence is being presented. Is this determination being made simply on the basis of total weight or are they actually doing gas chromatography on the elemental makeup of each tree species? Are they checking through the seasons? Same species different climate variables? Proper statistical set sizes to determine a significance?

Anyone need a good research project?

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/13/2010 11:51 AM

Now there's a good answer .. I had some similar questions about the calculation. I assumed it was a basic generalization because of the lack of specifics, as you mention.

Hopefully someone who is big time into this area of expertise can add their piece of information and let the rest of us lay-people come up with the weird ideas for them.

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/17/2010 3:25 PM

The name you requested in your email: All pines belong to the genus Pinus, and the southwestern white pine belongs to the species stebiformis.

Thinking "outside the box" is helpful sometimes but should not replace the scientific process . There is so much misinformation on the internet (especially for political and financial gain), and researchers should examine their sources carefully . Many Universities in the USA (e.g. MITand UT) have web sites that are good sources of data, but unfortunately a few have been infiltrated with radical educators. Separate statements which are opinions etc. from data which is based on appropriate scientific methods and thoughts. Never accept anything as absolutely true but rather classify data in terms of validity and evidence. Attempt to disprove your beliefs (by forming a "null hypothesis" and testing it), and thus disprove it before your critics can.

Examine some of the following statements, and you might surprise yourself (do not assume that they all have significant validity):

1. Water vapor has a greater input on global warming than CO2.

2. In the past, plants and animals flourished in atmospheres which contained over twice as much CO2 than at the present time.

3. As plants absorb CO2 (photosynthesis), they typically grow larger and produce more water vapor (transpiration). Therefore, the net process would have a negative effect on global warming.

4. Some trees can transpire more that fifty gallons of water vapor per day.

5. Global warming has decreased during the past few years.

6. Global temperature is significantly affected by atomospheric concentration of CO2 .

7. The biosphere has equilibriums which will shift only slightly by removing most of the stress/strain (Le Chatelier's Principle) placed on them. Unfortunately, humans are responsible for producing some of these stresses/strains.

8. Destroying trees in a region will usually lower annual precipitation in that and other regions.

9. Planting more trees will significantly lower the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and significantly affect global temperature.

10. The concentration of CO2 in the earth's atmosphere is greater now than any other time in the history.

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#49

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

07/07/2010 5:04 AM

Dear MIKE,

After a long time I finally stop my work over this topic. Its because of I'm not interested in this topic but it's because of the absorption is not a solution for this problem. I just try different rather than this...

Best Luck for your Work and as possible as I will be with you for any further help...

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#54

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/15/2011 11:45 AM

Isn't this happening whether we do anything about it or not? Global warming apparently transports water from polar ice to the oceans and from the oceans to the atmosphere and thence to the land. CO2 delivers the majority of carbon to the plants. Further, assuming that the other 90% of the human race will pursue our lifestyle using available energy sources, namely coal, aren't we deluding ourselves about stopping global warming with strategies in our context? If all we are doing is using heat energy, why not a global effort to access deep geothermal energy? For that matter, a reorientation of heavy manufacturing to areas where geothermal is at or near the surface.

CP

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/16/2011 8:42 AM

If logic and compassion (instead of greed for power and wealth) ruled our decision processes, the problems of energy and pollution in the world could seriously be impacted. Nuclear (has its problems but very effective), geothermal, and solar energy appear to be viable methods to solve these concerns.

I see little promise in growing trees to control atmospheric carbon dioxide and thus global temperature (what plants taketh they giveth back), but they are very significant to temporarily maintain precipitation (emitting approximately 50 gal(l)/day tree ~ important for crops etc.) and atmospheric water vapor (much more effective than CO2 in controlling global temperature ~ if we knew which way it was changing)

.

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#58
In reply to #55

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/20/2011 3:29 PM

Why don't we leave politically charged speculation and our disdain of the human condition for another discussion? (We are all, in fact, greedy and self-centered to some degree) It is logical to seek the most efficient way to transform matter to energy at our current level of technology. Side effects may be easily detected and handled by future technology, but if not, the need for energy is not diminished.

If you are correct about your pithy adage (what plants taketh, they giveth back) then why would we bicker about burning coal since it was once plant matter and will inevitably "give back" anyway? The point is that coal (peat, bituminous, and anthracite) are all simply sequestered CO2 from trees and plant matter. We live in somewhat of a "closed system" with the exception of some falling rock, Ni/Fe, and particles/rays. All of our water renews through the hydrological cycle and is not corrupted until falling through the atmosphere. So we aren't losing anything, and sequestering is the ONLY way to handle excess carbon. If we could just take all the excess carbon from the air and sequester it into diamond form...

Geothermal electric energy must be taken in very risky areas since they are a subdivision of vulcanism. So while it might be sustainable to some measure, it is not really practical.

Solar electric energy seems to require more energy to make than it can produce...which it is still not cost effective. But this is likely to be the major source in the future. But solar flares and electromagnetic fluctuation is presenting problems for large scale production.

We have made use of tremendous resources such as hydroelectric plants which essentially use the water cycle of evaporation and condensation at higher altitudes bringing the water down from elevation through our plants and converting a portion of this energy into more usable electric current.

So we seem to be left, for the time being, with fossil/carbon fuels.

While you might see little promise in "growing trees", chipping away at the problem is the best we can currently hope for. But perhaps you haven't done your reading. Dr. Montenegro at University of Victoria, BC, has found statistical significance in not only growing trees but where you grow them! It seems that the northern hemisphere growth potential is very high for sequestration of CO2 gases but also taking into account the loss of natural cooling by replacing open spaces that currently are reflecting sources. (Global and Planetary Change, DOI: 10.1016/j. gloplacha 2009.08.005) His work has been carried out on Northern hemisphere vs. tropical climates for re-forestation. His findings indicate that the northern hemisphere seems to be the more susceptible to having the potential for the greatest difference. But if every person understands and does a little bit more...it can potentially add up to big things. But everyone has to believe that they can make a difference.

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#59
In reply to #58

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/21/2011 11:12 AM

We all should be in favor of growing more trees but for the right reasons.

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#60
In reply to #58

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/21/2011 11:57 AM

Geothermal - If we use geothermal energy to a maximum; Do we have a potential for cooling the Earth's core and slowing the motion of the center thus reducing our magnetic protection ? what other problems could geothermal produce that we haven't forseen or possibly predicted ? slow and small here may be the best idea for now.

Dr. Montenegro - Do you have any links for his stuff, this sounds like it might be something I would want to look further into. What little you did post about his work sounds interesting and may have bearing on what I am interested in.

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#61
In reply to #58

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/21/2011 12:44 PM

Please provide the empirical data of how CO2 emission (it is an acid anhydride and contributes to acid rain) will significantly (emphasis on this term) effect the earth's global temperature and how this measures up to other factors. (Check out the American Southwestern Pine...however, I am not convinced that growing trees to sequent carbon dioxide is a significant solution to affect the climate.)

When chasing a rabbit, make sure a lion is not behind you.

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#62
In reply to #61

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/21/2011 3:12 PM

I've not defended "Global Warming", simply sought answers to the problem of elevated levels of CO2 that scientists seem to equate to "greenhouse gases". I've never been convinced that human intervention is statistically significant since CO2 levels have been, supposedly, higher in prehistoric times.

The forum thread is not about "Global Warming", but CO2 absorption by trees (according to the title).

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#57

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/16/2011 9:18 AM

See my last remarks (as guest)...in your dissertation try to disprove this concept...also, look at water vapor and sunspots.

Good luck in your education.

Okiescienceprof

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#67

Re: CO2 Absorption by Trees

01/30/2012 2:17 PM

If I were doing this I would look at the following. Bamboo as described pulls in a great deal of CO2. There are other trees that do a good job, but may be considered invasive.

After the plant has reached its growing plateau, harvest it. Then use solar mirrors to reduce it to charcoal. The resulting charcoal can then be sequestered in an abandoned coal mine.

As an alternative, you may want to start with trees that have already fallen or are diseased.

I would recommend Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky as places to start.

You will need your PhD in grant writing to get started. As for marketing, this could be used for people who really want to reduce their carbon footprint. The individual determines how much carbon he wants to sequester, you determine the cost per ton.

Let us know how it turns out.

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