How trees help fight climate change – all over the world

Robert Westover
Office of Communication, U.S. Forest Service
February 27th, 2015 at 7:15PM

The first in a series of blogs honoring the United Nation’s 2015 International Day of Forests

A Limber Pine on the near barren landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve stands as a strong symbol of the power of one tree. (Photo by Robert Westover, U.S. Forest Service) Did you know that carbon dioxide, or CO2, is one of the main contributors to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change?

And, did you know that one averaged-size tree – say a 30-footer – can store hundreds of pounds of CO2 over its lifetime and even longer if it’s used in building materials for a house or furniture?

If this is the power of one tree – imagine what a forest can do. During our 21-day recognition of the United Nation’s International Day of Forests the U.S. Forest Service wants folks to be aware of the power of trees and of our forests.

Since 2013, the UN has selected March 21 of each year to be the unique and specific day that the entire world thinks about the importance of trees. In the Northern Hemisphere it has particular resonance as this is the first day of spring and most deciduous trees, those trees that dropped their leaves in winter, are beginning to bud with new life.

But the symbolism isn’t lost in the Southern Hemisphere as this is when fall begins in the other half of the world and, again, the importance of the cycles of death and renewal are brought to mind as millions of leaves fall to the cooling ground.

In recognition and celebration of the power of trees, starting March 1, the Forest Service is going to post pictures and descriptions of many of our tree varieties located across our National Forests throughout the days leading to 2015’s International Day of Forests.

Check out our Facebook and Twitter sites as we kick off our love of trees in March.