Science

Carbon footprint and co2 emissions

First, one needs to understand how serious the problem of CO2 emissions is.
Few people know how much CO2 is released during the combustion of one liter of petrol.
The answer is 2.3kg! Think about it for a minute, this is an astounding number.
A car that consumes 8l/100km will release 18,4 kilograms of CO2 per 100km. On average, Europeans drive a distance of 20,000km per year, that is about 3,7 tons of CO2 each year per car.
For plane travel, the problem is worse. A round trip New York – Paris (14h) represents 0.67 tons of CO2 per person in economy class. Business class passengers count double as they take proportionately more space in the plane.
For persons who fly, even a couple of times per year, their carbon footprint coming from plane travel will quickly represent more than half of their total carbon footprint.

CARBON OFFSET

There are solutions. First of course, we should try to limit our consumption. For example, we can reduce our airplane travels. Any trip less than 1000 miles long should be done by train or car. Less flying doesn’t necessarily mean less vacation: one can travel less often but stay longer.
Second, we should offset carbon emissions in the air by planting trees. They absorb CO2 and produce oxygen. At the same time, offsetting should be seen as a helping factor not a justification for more emissions. 
One tree absorbs on average 100 kg of CO2 in temperate regions over eight years when it is mature. For example, if the CO2 footprint of a person in a given year is 20 tons, by planting 200 trees that person’s carbon footprint will be offset in 8 years once the tree has grown which will take 10 to 20 years.

FOREST COVERAGE IN ARMENIA AND POTENTIAL FOR INCREASE

Armenia has a surface of 30,000 km². The forest coverage is estimated at 11,2%, it is very low compared to other countries in the region. Forest coverage should increase by 5% at least. 1% of the country is 300 km² or 30.000 hectares. To create new forests, experts recommend planting around 3.300 trees per hectare. The goal of My Forest Armenia is to plant 400.000 trees annually, or about 120 hectares of new forest every year. Hopefully, with time, that number will grow. At 120 hectares per year, it would still take 250 years before Armenia’s forest coverage would grow by… 1%

Cost of planting

The cost of planting is composed of three parts.
The first part concerns preparation of the seedlings in a nursery or greenhouse: collecting or buying the seeds, filling each container with seed and high quality earth, watering, etc.
The second part concerns planting itself. Suitable areas are carefully selected and special planting procedures are designed according to the geographical areas.
The third and most important part concerns caring for the young plants during at least the first three years. The young seedlings have to be protected by fencing in order to keep them safe from the animals but also humans.
Next, young trees are very sensitive to lack of water, and we cover them with mulch in order to prevent water loss as well as protect the seedlings from grass and weeds. Still, some part of the young trees do not survive in the wild during the first year, and we replace them with new trees during the next 2-3 years. This maintenance work is the major part of the cost.
The total cost of all three operations (incl. administration costs) is $ 2.5 per tree.