"Pledge A Tree" Tree Planting Project

The Jamaica Institute of Environmental Professionals (JIEP) in collaboration with the Forestry Department will be embarking on a “Pledge a Tree” Project. This project will be launched at the 4th Biennial JIEP Conference May 26-27, 2009.

The Forestry Department has set aside 5 hectares (10 acres) of land in the Blue Mountains and 3500 seedlings for this reforestation project which will help to reduce global warming. It is estimated that it requires 700 seedlings to reforest 1 hectare of forest.

Each tree planted "offsets" your environmental impact by "breathing" in about 1 tonne of CO2 emissions over its lifetime. It's estimated that the average person needs to save about 7 tonnes of CO2 per year. So planting just 7 trees each year is one strategy for achieving this. Trees also replenish sustainable habitat for wildlife and will enhance the natural landscape with native trees.

Approximately 6 billion tonnes of CO2 is released into the atmosphere each year from human activity. About one-third of these emissions are absorbed by the world's forests. Before the large-scale development of industry, mature forests were in equilibrium with the atmosphere. Photosynthesis, the process that creates plant matter, absorbs CO2 from the air. But trees also release CO2 back into the air when plant matter breaks down the sugars they make during photosynthesis. This process is called respiration. Much the same happens in forest soils, which absorb carbon from trees and release CO2 as microorganisms break down plant matter.

This equilibrium has been increasingly upset by the higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. Usually, the low level of CO2 is what limits photosynthesis. Higher CO2 levels promote "CO2 fertilisation", accelerating both forest growth and the accumulation of carbon in forest soils. As the forests grow faster, they absorb more CO2, helping to stave off climate change.

Through our joint programme with the Forestry Department, your tree purchase will offset CO2 emissions and provide wildlife habitats for fauna in the Blue Mountain Area. All trees that are planted will be native to the Blue Mountain area, and will be carefully planted and managed to live their natural lifespan and meet their biodiversity targets. The Forestry Department will monitor this new forest as a CO2 sink – a figure will be calculated that will help to derive our carbon offset.

Each seedling costs J$100.00, Stickers are available for all persons who participate in the purchase of a tree.


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