We are losing our forests in a rapid pace and the consequences are dire. As the World Resources Institute concludes : “Over the past 150 years deforestation has contributed to an estimated 30% of the atmospheric build-up of CO2. Deforestation is also a significant driving force behind the loss of genes, species and critical eco-systems.
Forests provide essential services for mankind. Forests produce clean air, pure water and rich soil. Forests prevent erosion, desertification and floods. Forests help to maintain earth’s biodiversity and to regulate the temperature of the earth. Not least of all, forests create a sanctuary for man.
The two 400 year old Cape hollies pictured here, have so far each created 25’000 kg of molecular oxygen and as such supplied one person with oxygen for her whole life. Since 1615 the roots of these Cape hollies have drawn up 20 million liters of water, which was released through evaporation and deposited as rain on the land.
Trees store carbon. A pristine forest eco-system however also stores substantial quantities of carbon in the forest floor: leaf litter, mulch and compost. Each and any tree in a healthy forest will be replaced by another when it dies and falls over, maintaining the average carbon storage capacity of the forest as a whole. That’s why it makes more sense to participate in reforestation than just to plant a tree somewhere.
And in South Africa, storing carbon we must. The CO2 emissions of South Africa are equal to those of the whole of the rest of the South African continent.
How much carbon will be stored by a certain forest, depends on numerous variables. But if a person plants roughly 350 reforestation-trees during her lifetime, she will have been a carbon-neutral member of her household.