Rushville Republican

Community News Network

December 10, 2012

Do you deserve a lump of carbon under your Christmas tree?

(Continued)

New forests also seem to emit significant levels of carbon dioxide, rather than only absorbing and storing it. When we plant or replant a tree farm, we turn over the soil and kill off roots and ground-level plants. That vegetation was also storing carbon, and it begins to decompose. In some cases, the dying plant matter emits more carbon dioxide than the newly planted trees extract from the atmosphere.

There has also been research suggesting that old-growth forests are more active than they appear. According to a scientific letter published in the journal Nature in 2008, forests continue to add woody matter — both new branches on existing trees and new, smaller plants — for centuries, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere in the process. The net carbon budget — the amount of carbon sequestered minus the carbon emitted through decomposition of downed plant matter — is more favorable in a forest's 300th year than in its fifth year. Overall, the data seem to suggest that old-growth forests keep more carbon out of the atmosphere than high-turnover tree farms, but there is probably significant variation depending on locale and how foresters manage the stock.

This doesn't mean you should forsake a Christmas tree or turn to an artificial alternative. (Fake Christmas trees often include chemicals that are especially harmful to the environment when discarded and are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than natural trees.)

A few special considerations set Christmas tree farms apart from producers of trees grown for paper. Christmas tree farmers typically plant more trees than they harvest, giving the new crop a better chance at out-sequestering the ones they replaced.

Evergreens aren't the best arboreal carbon sequestration tools — that title goes to hardwood trees — so the difference in greenhouse gas emissions between a long-lived evergreen forest and a Christmas tree farm aren't likely to be significant. (Razing a hardwood forest to grow Christmas trees would be a bigger problem, but this is a relatively rare event.)

Text Only
Community News Network
  • The Simpsons still going strong

    The groundbreaking animation first hit the air Dec. 17, 1989, but the family first appeared on television in "The Tracey Ullman Show" short "Good Night" on April 19, 1987.

    August 21, 2014

  • Police chief resigns over racial slur repost to Facebook

    A repost on his personal Facebook page of a racially-charged comment by the original poster of a comedy video has forced the police chief of an Oklahoma city to resign his office.

    August 21, 2014

  • Does Twitter need a censor?

    Twitter decided last year to make images more prominent on its site. Now, the social network is finding itself caught between being an open forum and patrolling for inappropriate content.

    August 21, 2014

  • sleepchart.jpg America’s sleep-deprived cities

    Americans might run on sleep, but those living in the country's largest cities don't appear to run on much.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Who should pay for your kids ACT?

    Thirteen states paid for 11th-grade students in all public high schools to take the ACT college admission test this year, with several more planning to join them in 2015.

    August 20, 2014

  • Pets.jpg Why do people look like their pets?

    As much as we might quibble over the virtues and vices of Canis domesticus, however, and over whether human nature is any better or worse than dog nature, even dog fanciers don't usually want to look like a dog.

    August 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ice bucket challenge trending up

    Internet trends are a dime a dozen these days. Everything from Tebowing to planking to the cinnamon challenge can cause a wave of social media activity that can last for weeks before fizzling out.

    August 19, 2014

  • Africa goes medieval in its fight against Ebola

    As the Ebola epidemic claims new victims at an ever-increasing rate, African governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have instituted a "cordon sanitaire," deploying troops to forcibly isolate the inhabitants in an area containing most of the cases.

    August 18, 2014

  • Democrat? Republican? There's an app for that

    If you're a Republican, you might want to think twice before buying Lipton Iced Tea, and forget about Starbucks coffee. If you're a Democrat, put down that Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, and throw away the cylinder of Quaker Oats in your pantry.

    August 18, 2014

  • Five myths about presidential vacations

    In the nuclear age, presidents may have only minutes to make a decision that could affect the entire world. They don't so much leave the White House as they take a miniature version of it with them wherever they go.

    August 15, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Hamm Talks Emmy Chances Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Raw: Egypt Bus Crash Kills at Least 33 Two Bodies Found in Adjacent Yards Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Rescue Efforts Suspended at Japan Landslide Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Raw: Smaller Marches in Ferguson Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer Ky. Firefighters Hurt in Ice Bucket Challenge Federal Investigation Will Look at Use of Force Community Deals With Michael Brown Aftermath US: We Do Not Pay Ransom to Terrorists
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.