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Trees: Let’s Tend More!

Want to reverse global warming? Tend to a tree!

Trees and other woody plants are superb at taking carbon from the atmosphere and sequestering it in their trunks, roots, and in the soil. Earth’s lungs are also earth’s “carbon sink”.

Last fall, the City of Traverse City asked SEEDS Conservation Corps to help plant 38 trees on West Bay. SEEDS staff analyzed the species using a web-based tool “i-Tree,” and estimate that 38.4 metric tons of carbon will be sequestered over the lifetime of those trees.

That is equivalent to one year of greenhouse gas emissions from eight passenger vehicles. So you can see, it takes a lot of big old trees to offset our current habits and every square foot that can grow a perennial counts. The planting project at West Bay is also estimated to remove 64.2 kg of pollutants from the atmosphere, mostly ozone, as well as to avoid 238 cubic meters of stormwater runoff.

The carbon sequestered over the estimated project lifetime is equal to the greenhouse gas emissions from 13.4 tons of waste being recycled instead of landfilled, or 8.2 passenger vehicles driven for a year, or the CO2 emissions from 5.8 homes’ electricity use for one year.

These conversions were made using the EPA’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator. You can also use “i-Tree” to measure the impact of newly planted trees. It is a free resource available at