These words were the banner for a 4RG Community Forum held Thursday, February 13th. As every Torontonian knows the threat had already arrived on the city’s doorstep: a December ice storm that caused extensive losses to the urban forest, estimated by some to approach 40% of the existing canopy.
Some people may be sceptical of these losses, calculated at millions of dollars. They don’t realize that trees are on our side when it comes to the battle against GreenHouse Gases. Just as the actions of individuals can assist by reducing their carbon footprint, so each tree is a carbon sink. Read on!
20 Important Facts about Trees and Climate Change
- 1 acre of forest sequesters 2.5 tons of carbon annually.
- Young trees sequester 13 lbs of carbon annually
- 10 year old trees sequester 48 lbs of CO2 annually
- 10 year old trees produce enough oxygen to support 2 humans annually
- 100 million trees sequester 18 million tons of CO2/yr
- 100 million trees save $4 billion in electricity/yr.
- August 2013 recorded the highest CO2 readings in 100 million years – 400 ppm
- 1 large tree can lift 100 gallons of water from the ground and discharge it into the air.
- Every added 5% of tree cover reduces storm water runoff by 2%
- “All City owned trees are on life support.” (a Toronto arborist)
- Beech and ash trees are in massive die off mode across Ontario.
- Car exhaust kills trees.
- Climate change kills trees by: heat stressors, extreme weather events, like flooding and drought.
- Diseases and insect infestations, resulting from climate change, kill trees
- Toronto’s tree canopy needs to increase by 67%.
- Recent study shows original or natural growth (green space) needs to be 50%, preferably 60%, for safety purposes, because of loss of foliage through fire, drought, flood, ice storms, overdevelopment.
- 60% of Toronto’s trees are on private land.
- Toronto City Council has voted to increase the number of trees in Toronto from 26.6% to 40%.
- Social benefits: trees reduce aggression, stress, recuperation times, etc.
- Health benefits: Every 2nd breath comes from the ocean, which is hyperacidic. Trees are more important than ever, to relieve the oxygen deficit in the ocean.