Why focus on large legacy trees?
Much has been written enumerating the social, economic and environmental value of big trees. In addition to sequestering and storing carbon, they reduce the need for air conditioning, and offer homes to wildlife, slow stormwater runoff, add value to homes and businesses.
If you would like to learn more about the value of big trees, and why they are the focus of TreeTrust.ca, here is an easy-to-read article. It makes the case that large trees are invaluable to community health. This article from Wired backs this up with science and real-time carbon measuring happening in Washington state.
Who does the work on Tree Trust Trees?
Tree Trust Qualified Arborists. These are specialists who employ conservation arboriculture techniques – highly skilled practices that seek to stabilize tree structure, improve growing conditions, retain habitat and a multitude of other benefits and help extend the life of our magnificent ageing and legacy trees. Each community partner has one TreeTurst Qualified Arborist working for this program. You will find them listed on each Community Page along with a link to their website.
Tree Trust Qualified arborists have TRAQ – Tree Risk Assessment Qualification so that they can assess each Tree Trust tree to make informed decisions that enhance its health and longevity. In addition to TRAQ, Tree Trust Qualified Arborists have demonstrated their knowledge and experience by submitting at least one prescription for work required for a legacy tree and a report illustrating the work that was done.Our many thanks to Philip van Wassenaer of Urban Forest Innovations and Ian Bruce of Bruce Tree for their expertise crafting our qualification criteria. Click here to see a sample of Philips’s recent work.
What existing trees will you care for?
Each community will be responsible for the selection of the trees they will work on. Large trees often have structural issues such as dead and broken limbs. They also benefit from a professional crown reduction to reduce stress or trimming of limbs that are at risk of breaking. In the hands of our qualified arborists regular and important maintenance issues are looked after. Generally, trees are chosen that are in need of this support based on recommendations from local arborists and our network of tree supporters. Do you have a suggestion for a tree that could use some Tree Trust love? Nominate your tree here.
Where will the new trees be planted?
Our new trees will be planted close to the legacy trees we are caring for. This will let our larger trees protect and nurture the younger trees as they grow into fully grown carbon capture heros!
How does an offset program work?
Air travel and driving emit a great deal of greenhouse gas. By planting and maintaining trees we hope to absorb and retain enough CO2 to “offset” your share of what was emitted during your flight or drive. Trees are great at storing and sequestering carbon from the air and need to stay healthy to keep working for us. That is why Tree Trust plants new trees and maintains legacy trees.
This great article from Vox.com summarizes the rewards and challenges of carbon offset programs. We are proud that TreeTrust.ca checks all their boxes for a useful carbon offset:
Additionality: Does this purchase lead to work that otherwise wouldn’t be completed?
Our answer: Yes. Without your support, these legacy trees would not be attended to.
Permanent: Is this solution protected?
Our answer: By the very nature of the care from qualified arborists, we are helping ensure these legacy trees are around for a long time.
Double-counted: Is this offset being counted elsewhere?
Our answer: No. Each TreeTrust tree is a unique purchase by an individual traveller or a group of travellers.
Leakage: Is this worsening any other climate problems?
Our answer: No, in fact, strengthening legacy trees builds an urban canopy that helps water, other plants and animals and soil quality. Click here to learn more about the environmental, social and economic benefits of large trees.
How is this different from other offset programs?
In addition to planting new trees, Tree Trust uses our funds to look after large old trees in our community. By extending the life of these large mature trees we are securing the carbon they have already captured through photosynthesis until the young trees we have planted are mature enough to grow into their role as carbon capture heroes.
By extending the life of large, mature trees we are securing the carbon stored in their trunk and branches and sequestered annually through photosynthesis. This is a link to a fun student exercise to learn more about calculating the carbon stored in a particular tree.
How does your calculator estimate the carbon output from a flight?
Tree Trust looked at several carbon calculators used by airlines and environmental organizations to determine how much CO2 is emitted per passenger on a flight. Based on this research we have chosen a carbon emission number that takes into account many of the variables and factors associated with air travel. For example, planes use extra fuel to take off and reach altitude, so longer flights will use a bit less and shorter flights a bit more than the calculated amount.
How did we do our carbon math?
Flying: There are many variables that determine the amount of carbon generated from flying – length of travel, type of plane, load, etc. We wanted to keep this simple and reflective of the current thinking so we took an average of 3 existing calculators to come up with an average of 0.12 tonnes/hour of flight time. Then we used the cost of carbon at $30/tonne, higher than the federal level of $20/tonne but less than BC level of $40/tonne
Driving: We used Natural Resources Canada’s estimate of 2.31 Kg of CO2 per litre of gasoline and then calculated the fuel efficiency on various car types. The suggested donation amount is based on $30/tonne.
Can I offset my carbon from past trips?
You sure can! Follow this link and pledge to support all or some of the costs associated with a complete professional legacy tree trim. Your tax-deductible donation can be for your most recent trip or can cover all of your travel for last year!