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Tree Carbon Sequestration

The process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere by growing trees. 


Trees absorb CO2 through photosynthesis and store it in their biomass, such as leaves, branches, and trunks. As trees grow, they continue to absorb and store CO2, making them an effective and natural way to sequester carbon. Forests, especially tropical forests, are considered as one of the most important terrestrial carbon sink. They store large amounts of carbon in their woody biomass and soil. Deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions while reforestation and afforestation can help to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in trees. Tree carbon sequestration can be used as a climate mitigation strategy, in addition to providing other benefits such as biodiversity conservation, watershed protection, and recreation opportunities.


There are several methods of forestry carbon sequestration, which involve different ways of managing and manipulating forested land to increase the amount of carbon stored in trees and other forms of biomass. These methods include reforestation, afforestation, forest conservation and enhanced forest management

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Reforestation carbon offsetting refers to the process of planting new trees in areas where forests have been cleared and using the carbon sequestered by these new trees to offset emissions from other activities. The rules for reforestation carbon offsetting vary depending on the jurisdiction and the carbon offset program or standard being used. We help guide you through this process.Most programs and standards use common principals such as:

1. Additionality: The new trees must be planted in addition to any trees that would have been planted anyway. This means that the carbon sequestration benefits of the reforestation project must be additional to what would have happened without the project. 

2. Permenance: The carbon sequestered by the new trees must be stored for a long enough period of time. This usually means that the trees must be protected and managed in a way that ensures they will continue to grow for at least 30-50 years.

3. Measurability: The carbon sequestered by the new trees must be measurable so that it can be verified and quantified. This usually involves using remote sensing or ground-based measurements to estimate the amount of carbon stored in the trees. 

4. Verifiability: The carbon sequestered by the new trees must be verifiable, meaning that the carbon sequestration benefits of the project can be independently verified to ensure that the project is following the rules of delivering the carbon sequestration benefits claimed. 

5. Leakage: The carbon sequestration benefits of the project should not be offset by increased emissions from other activities, such as deforestation or land use change in other areas, as a result of the reforestation project. 

6. Sustainability: The forest management practices used in the reforestation project must be sustainable, meaning that they should not harm the environment, biodiversity, or the rights of local communities. 

Reforestation carbon offset projects can be implemented through various carbon offset mechanisms, such as the Clean Development Mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or voluntary carbon market such as the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Gold Standard. 

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Afforestation refers to the process of planting trees in an area where there was previously no forest. The eligibility criteria for afforestation can vary depending on the specific program or organization implementing the project. Some common criteria that may be used include:

the land must be suitable for growing trees. This may include factors such as soil type, slope, and climate. The land must not be already in use for other purposes, such as agriculture or urban development.

  • the land must not be already in use for other purposes, such as agriculture or urban development. 

  • the land must not be protected for conservation or other reasons

  • the project must be economically viable and sustainable over the long term.

  • the land owner should be willing and able to maintain the afforestation.

  • the project should have a positive impact on the environment, and should be consistent with the local government's climate change mitigation plans. 

It is worth noting that some organizations have slightly different criteria, and also some funding programs might have specific requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for funding. 

Image by Jonathan Kemper


Enhanced forest management for carbon offsetting purposes is a method of increasing the amount of carbon stored in forests through the implementation of specific practices and activities. These activities are designed to promote the growth and health of trees, and increase carbon storage in the forest. The goal is to offset carbon emissions from other sources through the sequestration of carbon in the forest. 

Activities that can be included in enhanced forest management for carbon offsetting purposes include:


  • Planting new trees

  • Thinning overcrowded areas

  • Reducing the frequency of fires and pests

  • Improving the health of existing forests through appropriate silviculture practices

  • Improving the management of existing forests

  • Avoiding conversion of forest to other land use

The carbon sequestration achieved through these activities can be quantified, verified and reported to be used as carbon offset credits, under different carbon offsetting schemes, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).

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