City of trees: Are Trees The Answer To Climate Emergency?

Are trees the answer to climate emergency? 

Scientists have discovered that trees could play a critical part in limiting global heating to 1.5°C. An ambitious worldwide programme of tree planting could potentially absorb up to two thirds of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide.

The report’s authors have mapped out globally where that planting could take place. Here in the UK, Manchester-based charity City of Trees has carried out a parallel activity to understand what part trees could play in helping the city region tackle climate breakdown and air quality and become more resilient to extreme weather.

The City of Trees team has carried out the most comprehensive i-Tree Eco survey so far undertaken in the UK, using specialist software, with results informing where there is potential to plant millions more trees. 

Tree economics

Data has been collected from more than 6,000 trees across Greater Manchester to help calculate the economic and environmental benefits trees provide, as well as highlighting that one million trees in the region are at risk from pests and diseases such as Ash Dieback and Horse Chestnut Bleeding Canker.

The results show that there are an estimated 11,321,386 trees with 15.7 per cent of Greater Manchester beneath tree canopy.

Greater Manchester’s trees act as a filtration system for harmful air pollutants – removing 847 tonnes of pollutants each year. They assist with excessive storm water, intercepting 1,644,415 cubic metres of storm water run-off per year. 

Added to this they sequester 56,530 tonnes of carbon each year and the current carbon of all the trees in the region is 1,573,015 tonnes.

The total annual economic value of air pollution filtration, storm water attenuation and carbon sequestration in Greater Manchester’s trees is £33,298,891.

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