Our family had a tradition of planting a tree every time there was a new addition to the family and another when a family member departed this life.

Being in the business of Landscape Design I understand the need for plants and trees, but it was not until recently that I came to understand the impact my lifestyle has on the environment and how much I actually need to do to combat my footprint on this beautiful planet 2 trees per person is not enough.

According to the World Watch Institute in its "Reforesting the Earth" paper, trees can absorb CO2 at the rate of about 6 kilograms/tree/year. They estimate that our planet needs at least 321 million acres of trees to restore and maintain soil and water resources, meet third world wood-fuel needs and remove about 780 million tons of carbon annually from the atmosphere.

For every ton of new wood that grows, about 1.5 tons of CO2 are removed from the air and 1.07 tons of life-giving oxygen is produced.

Visit Food and Trees for Africa to work out your annual carbon footprint and plant some of these, a few of my favourite indigenous trees to balance it out. Remember: trees only reach their most productive stage of carbon storage at about 10 years.

  • Vepris Lanceolata (White Ironwood) - evergreen - interesting foliage
  • Celtis Africana (White Stinkwood) - deciduous - large tree
  • Rhus Lancea (Karree) - evergreen - fast grower
  • Dodonaea Angustifolia (Sand Olive) - semi-evergreen - interesting colour foliage
  • Olea Europaea (Wild Olive) - evergreen - nice specimen tree
  • Ilex Mitis (Cape Holly) - evergreen - large tree for shade
  • Podalyria Cayptrata (Water Blossom Pea) - pretty flowers
  • Sideroxylon Inerme (White Milkwood) - berries and flowers for birds and bees

-- Written by Cheral for Life In Balance Article - Dec 2008 / Jan 2009--

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