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Wind. Know. How.

Slowly but surely - reforestation to combat climate change

Since 2008, we have been supporting the long-term livelihood of a family in Brazil while at the same time permanently removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Our employee Mr. Altair with his family

In the municipality of Soledade, Rio Grande do Sul, the forestry project Reflorestamento Ltda. has for many years been successfully implementing a carbon sequestration project in the form of reforestation and forest management, a further climate protection instrument. Deforestation, frequently used over large areas in Brazil to allow soy bean cultivation, is one of the largest sources of carbon emissions globally. It means the slowly accumulated biomass is literally removed at a stroke. The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which a total of 141 countries had ratified by 2005, constituted a major shift in approach and a historic stepping stone on the way to the current Paris Climate Agreement. One element of the first obligation period (2008 - 2021) was the option to offset national emissions with changes in land use, including reforestation and forest management.

The newly planted forests are more efficient at sequestering carbon than old, indigenous forests. This is because the younger the plant, the higher its energy requirement for growth and the greater its absorption of carbon. The carbon builds up in the wood over the years, and simultaneously the carbon store in the soil increases.

The majority of the reforested area in Soledade was planted with eucalyptus saplings. The favourable climatic conditions promote the healthy growth of the trees. What's more, the humidification effect also ensures a faster breakdown of the residues in the soil, which enriches the organic soil substance.

Aline Daiane Gauer, a Brazilian forestry scientist, has published a study that evaluates and determines the carbon capture already achieved by the planting of eucalyptus and araucaria between 2009 and 2019. She based her work on the existing literature about biomass production and carbon capture in southern regions of Brazil (for example Fearnside and Guimarães (1996), Schumacher & Witschoreck (2004) and Dávila (2010).

The reforested area covers just over 200 hectares, and over 10 years it has captured around 33,000 tons of CO2. With a share of approx. 140 hectares, the replanting accounts for some 60% of the carbon capture. The rest is accumulated by the old forest and the nature reserves required by law. The replanting is expected to achieve an annual carbon capture of approx. 12.5 tons per hectare over the next 40 years. That would be an additional 70,000 tons in the reforested area alone.

"In Germany, every citizen currently produces an average of 7.9 tons of CO2 per year [1]. This means we have already offset the ecological footprint of more than 4,100 people," point out Heike Kröger, Mara Rockenbach and Ubbo de Witt, the partners in the forestry project. "In Brazil, the figure for per-capita CO2 emissions is 2.1 tons per year [2], so that, in mathematical terms, we offset the emissions of more than 15,700 people".  

 

Carbon capturing in the soil and biomass of eucalyptus plantations [3]
Calculation of the carbon contained in a 27-year-old eucalyptus plantation [4]

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[1] https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/153528/umfrage/co2-ausstoss-je-einwohner-in-deutschland-seit-1990/
[2] https://www.gtai.de/gtai-de/trade/specials/special/brasilien/klimabilanz-rodungen-unterminieren-gute-bilanz-anderer-bereiche-568530
[3] Villanova, Paulo Henrique & Jacovine, Gonçalves & Torres, Carlos & Alves, E.B.B.M. & Neto, Sílvio & Leite, H.G. & Schettini, Bruno & Rocha, S.J.S.S.. (2018). Accumulation of carbon and age of thinning of the tree component in agroforestry systems. Revista Brasileira de Ciências Agrárias - Brazilian Journal of Agricultural Sciences. 13. 1-6. 10.5039/agraria.v13i2a5526.
[4] Gatto, Alcides, Barros, Nairam Félix de, Novais, Roberto Ferreira, Silva, Ivo Ribeiro da, Leite, Hélio Garcia, Leite, Fernando Palha, & Villani, Ecila Maria de Albuquerque. (2010). Estoques de carbono no solo e na biomassa em plantações de eucalipto. Revista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo, 34(4), 1069-1079. https://doi.org/10.1590/S0100-06832010000400007

 

 

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