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Trees That Count – planting natives

Reducing our carbon footprint

Adapting to a carbon-neutral lifestyle can be challenging because emissions are produced by just about everything we do. Travelling, heating our homes and even some of the foods we eat are associated with emissions. Everybody has a carbon footprint that varies depending on our lifestyle but we all have opportunities to either reduce or offset emissions.

There are good opportunities to reduce our carbon emission and to offset those which are unavoidable. Planting native trees is a tangible way to offset our emissions while simultaneously benefiting New Zealand’s environment, and especially where we have degraded many of our natural ecosystems.

Options for planting natives to offset emissions

If you want to plant native trees to offset carbon emissions, there are several options such as doing it yourself or getting an experienced practitioner to plant for you. However, not everyone has the time, skills and suitable planting sites to plant a native forest. Trees That Count can provide an easy way for you to support planting native trees to meet your objectives.

Trees That Count, managed by The Project Crimson Trust, is championing the planting of native trees. It is bringing together businesses, communities and everyday Kiwis who share a vision to plant 200 million native trees across the country to make an impact on climate change and improve our environment.

How many trees to plant?

Tane’s Tree Trust is working with Trees That Count to provide essential technical support by promoting best-practice for successful establishment and monitoring of these new native forests.

Using the Tane’s Tree Trust Carbon Calculator (link to calculator), you can work out how many trees you will need to plant to offset your carbon emissions. The stand age is set at the default of 50 years. However, you can choose to reduce this period so that you can offset your emissions more quickly by planting more trees.

Remember that if you are calculating based on annual emissions, such as the use of your car or household activities, then trees will need to be planted each year based on your annual carbon emissions.

Trees That Count – how does it work?

For those wanting to plant native trees to offset their carbon dioxide emissions, Trees That Count provides an easy way through their Marketplace to fund or gift native trees. This support is matched with planters throughout the country who are restoring and extending native forests across our landscape creating more wildlife corridors and pockets of native forest, turning small projects into mighty ones.

The price for planting a native tree is $10 each for up to 100 trees, with the price per tree reducing with higher numbers planted. This cost of planting natives covers supply of high-quality nursery-raised seedlings, selection of appropriate planting sites to match the species, site preparation, planting, maintenance including pest animal and weed control which may be required for up to five years after planting, fencing where necessary, and verification and monitoring of performance.

Check out the online price guide on the Trees That Count website. If you cannot afford to support planting all the trees indicated for your calculation, even planting a few per year will help to offset some of your emissions.

Are there cheaper ways to support planting trees?

Planting exotic trees such as the faster-growing radiata pine is an option for mitigating your carbon emissions that is less expensive than planting natives. However, there is increasing interest in establishing alternative species including natives to meet the goals of planting the right species in the right place. This includes retiring remote marginal steep hill country and fencing riparian zones and planting and encouraging natural reversion to native forest.

Similarly, there are low-cost alternative planting schemes available internationally supporting planting of trees as part of global carbon offsetting programmes. It is up to the individual to evaluate what these schemes offer and to seek assurance that the trees are in fact being planted and permanent forests are successfully established and managed.

A personal choice

Despite the higher cost and slower growth rates of natives compared to some exotic species, and the option of supporting tree planting in other countries, more New Zealanders are choosing to support planting native forest to not only mitigate the impacts of climate change, but also to provide multiple environmental, recreational, aesthetic and cultural benefits for local communities, iwi, landowners and the wider public. Trees That Count, with ongoing technical support of Tāne’s Trees Trust, provides a credible option to see establishment of more native forest. Indeed, it comes down to a personal choice to plant native trees.

Trees That Count – a verified native forest planting programme

Trees That Count have monitoring systems to provide supporters and funders of planted native trees with an assurance of the success of planting programmes. In collaboration with Tane’s Tree Trust, technical support is also provided through a network of Trees That Count regional advisors from Northland through to Southland, to improve the success of native planting programmes in establishing permanent native forest.

Check out the Trees That Count website for more information and for easy ways to support planting native trees across New Zealand.