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Portland, OR 97236
The role that all plants play in keeping our earth in balance is essential. They provide us with the components to sustain life in all forms. In honor of Earth Day we are excited to share our newest findings relating to the environmental benefits of the fruiting plants at One Green World and their role in creating a livable atmosphere by offsetting excess carbon dioxide emissions!
There are various forms of carbon in the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a primary greenhouse gas that absorbs energy from the sun to be redirected back into the earth’s surface. This cycle is necessary for the survival of all living things, however, high amounts of carbon dioxide due to the burning of fossil fuels leads to an excessive amount of greenhouse gases which traps more heat. This captured heat leads to an imbalance (negative impact within) in the atmosphere and the overall increase in average temperatures. The unprecedented pace of warming happening at this time is putting many organisms, including humans, and essential environmental processes at risk.
Plants naturally take in carbon as part of photosynthesis. Because of this, they provide a method to sequester carbon out of the atmosphere by simply growing and turning atmospheric carbon into plant tissues. Plants intake carbon dioxide and water which is then converted into oxygen and water vapor to be released back in the atmosphere. Since humans and other organisms need oxygen for respiration, plants help sustain our own survival. This cycle is integral in preserving all life on earth.
At One Green World we wanted to know more about the amount of carbon dioxide sequestered by each plant at the nursery and to find out how it contributes to offsetting our own carbon dioxide emissions. Our findings have allowed us to further appreciate the importance of every plant and how we can continue doing our part in generating less emissions.
The information and research provided has been obtained and evaluated by our very own Office Assistant, Maya Hurst, who is currently in the process of receiving her Masters in Environmental Science and Management.
Maya’s first job at an indoor vertical farm first sparked her interest in plants and the environment. She helped cultivate baby salad greens and learned a lot about sustainable cultivation and basic plant needs. Her interest in environmental sciences grew in college as she learned more about worldwide issues like global warming and plastic pollution. As a graduate student, Maya is looking into solutions for marine microplastic pollution, but plants remain another aspect of the environment that she values and is endlessly interested in. Working with plants at the nursery has allowed her to pursue this passion and connect her interest in solving environmental issues with her love of plants.
The plant data was collected from late July through August 2020. An estimation of CO2 sequestration by each individual plant was made by measuring the height and trunk diameter of each variety of plant. This was multiplied by the quantity of that variety we sold over the course of the year to find an estimate of the amount of CO2 sequestered by all plants of that variety at the nursery over a 1 year time frame. (Height and trunk width of plants was measured to the nearest inch and estimated by groups of plants visible.) -May not be needed. The plants included were container plants and not bare root trees, as bare roots were not actively growing on site at the nursery and not available in summer, but these also sequester large amounts of carbon and most of them have very long life expectancies.
Below are the final calculations regarding carbon dioxide sequestered by plants at OGW:
* As a disclaimer, it is difficult to ultimately calculate the exact amount of CO2 sequestered per tree, and these results are based on approximate estimations and calculations. This data does provide helpful insight by letting us generally understand CO2 levels. Some assumptions of the data are that the height and diameter of the plants are consistent throughout the year, that all plants of that variety are about the same size, and that they all have the same moisture and carbon content.
Adding a new tree or fruiting plant will not only provide a delicious fruit source or beautiful landscape but will also make a positive difference in sequestering carbon in your own yards at home along with adding other environmental benefits. Planting more trees can also help reduce water runoff by storing water in the canopy and moving water to the atmosphere by evapotranspiration. Plants can even be used to remove pollutants from water runoff, as used in areas called bioswales. In addition, trees can also help improve soil stability and reduce erosion by holding the soil together with their roots. Many benefits result from adding plants to your yard and simply letting them grow and do their thing! Growing your own fruit also helps limit emissions that may be used by traveling to the grocery store along with reducing any paper or plastic products used to transport the food.
The data collected lets us understand how much CO2 individual plants are estimated to sequester per year, helping us to appreciate the work of plants and how it benefits.
Below is a chart containing our top 5 popular plant varieties and the average carbon dioxide they sequester per year:
One Green World is committed to helping create a more sustainable environment and plant-filled world where all living things can thrive. Last year we provided over 100,000 plants to new homes. We appreciate all of those contributing their own dedication and passion towards bringing more plants into this planet. Thank you for helping grow a more sustainable and fruitful future!