carbon eaters

It’s the year 2008. Humans have removed half the world’s forests. The oceans and land are running out of room to store our waves of industrial carbon. Scientists warn of impending tipping points and rapid climate change wreaking havoc on the planet. Only one being has the innate intelligence and capacity to save us…

Um, it’s a tree.

water oak, hill country, texas

nrdc tree art

Consider this your invitation to plant one this Earth Day weekend and then consider joining San Antonio’s Citizen’s Tree Coalition.

You may also want to take a few minutes from your Saturday to read this fantastic article from OnEarth: The Giving Trees by Sharon Levy.

In the carbon cycle, it’s not just about the individual tree — the entire forest plays a role. Leaves take in carbon dioxide, converting it to sugar, which is carbon-based. Some of the sugar is used immediately for energy, converted back to CO2, and released into the atmosphere. The rest is stored in living wood or dead matter, such as fallen leaves and branches. Old-growth forests, in particular, store vast amounts of carbon while continuing to absorb CO2.

Click on the illustration below for a way-cool, full-sized PDF diagramming the tree-carbon dynamic.

carbon cycle

Top pic is water oak newly leafing at SA’s Friedrich Park. The two illos are from OnEarth.

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