Planting more trees has been a major call by climate activists and nature lovers. But are we following it? There are numerous people who converted their farms into plantations for this and many are there who have forests or planted forests to save the planet. Plants absorb carbon dioxide emitted by humans as a result of breathing and their other industrial activities. But looking at the big picture we do not have enough plants to absorb the enormous amounts of CO2 emitted by humans and their activities. To encourage green plantations by industries, landowners, and other such landholders, the government came up with carbon credits. Come find out what carbon credit is. If you want to ask how many carbon credits per acre of trees, then keep reading because this article has answers to such questions. Along with it, you will find the answer to how many trees do you need for carbon credits.
What is Carbon Sequestration? What are Carbon Credits? How are they Earned?
Trees capture and utilize carbon dioxide and the process of capturing and preventing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere is termed terrestrial carbon sequestration. Biomass created by perennial vegetation like tree trunks or root systems also stores carbon. Through the following methods, free-floating atmospheric carbon is transformed into fixed-state carbon.
- Soil organic matter
- Tree plantings
- Perennial grass planting
- Underground traps
Now, a landowner implements perennial vegetation on his land resulting in high levels of carbon sequestration, and he gets credit for this. They are known as carbon credits and can be sold for cash payments.
How Many Carbon Credits per Acre of Trees?
The answer to this depends on the species of trees as they are an important factor when you register for carbon credits. Mostly 5 meters high trees are eligible for carbon credit, but this factor differs from country to country. For every 1 metric ton of CO2 captured, avoided, destroyed, or reduced, 1 carbon credit is created. Trees eligible for carbon credits are as follows:
- Cropping and horticulture species
- Fruit trees
- Native nursery crops
- Non-woody species
- Tree weeds and certain invasive species
Now to determine carbon credits, the World Bank mentioned that most carbon credits are priced below $40-80 per metric ton of CO2 emitted needed to maintain global warming within the 2° range as mentioned in the Paris Agreement.
Considering the plants in an acre of agricultural land of the same size, 2 to 3 credits is the max a landowner or farmer gets. Each carbon credit costs a minimum of $10, and it can range between $20 and $30 max. It is not much, but carbon credit for agricultural land is in its infancy since the system is mostly for reducing carbon emissions by industry and transport sector.
However, to become eligible for carbon credits you need verifications and aggregations. Here the term verification refers to third-party verification of sequestration levels. This is applicable for more than 2,000 mT of carbon sequestration per year. The landowner needs to hire an approved verifier for the work. And for land sequestering less than 2,000 mT carbon per year, the exchange will perform the paper verification. This is done by reviewing submitted documents and carbon calculations by landowners.
Further, aggregation means the involvement of an aggregator if the project sequesters more than 12,500 mT of carbon per year. An aggregator collects credit from multiple landowners into a marketable package and then trades it on behalf of the landowner. This way, exchange members can purchase large credits at considerable costs. Also, the landowner working with an aggregator has a contractual commitment with the aggregator. They are allowed to enroll in credits from different projects like tillage land, tree, and grass plantings, along with methane digesters. So, these were the requirements before you calculate how many carbon credits per acre of trees.
How Many Carbon Credits Do You Get Per Acre?
Usually, it is somewhere between 2–5 credits per acre. But this may vary depending on lands like forests, farms, agricultural land, and other plantations. Every country practicing carbon credits has a trading platform for them where they are traded at large. To sell the credits a landowner must work through an aggregator who is a person collecting credits from different landowners, bundling it up large enough to trade it. A landowner and an aggregator sign a contract mentioning that the landowner gave rights for carbon sequestration to the aggregator for the price.
Also See: What is Capacity Factor (CF)?
To determine how many carbon credits you get per acre, first, we need to determine how much carbon a plant absorbs. And in this process, you may find the answer to how many carbon credits do you get per acre. There are few calculators online where you can calculate carbon absorbed by plants on the basis of their age, size, and other factors. By entering the tree circumference, number of trees, and age of trees you can get the following information.
- Amount of oxygen produced
- Number of people using that oxygen
- Amount of carbon stored and the approx. the distance that can be covered using that carbon
- Amount of water evaporated
- Hours for which the water evaporates help in cooling the area.
Also Read: What is Solar Net Metering?
How Many Trees Do You Need for Carbon Credits?
Well, about 730 trees are required for absorbing the carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel used by each person. On average a person releases around 2 pounds of carbon dioxide per day and to cater for this much CO2 we need 15 trees for each person. American Forest Foundation’s Family Forest Carbon Program mentioned rules specifically for small landowners who wish to register for the carbon credit program.
Also Read: Net Billing Vs Net Metering
How Many Carbon Credits per Tree? How Do You Calculate Carbon Credit for a Tree?
The amount of carbon absorbed by trees in a defined area determines the carbon credit. As of now, 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide absorbed or destroyed by trees counts for 1 carbon credit. Depending on the number of plants in an acre or the species of plants, carbon absorption differs, which can alter the credit generated. After you learned about how many carbon credits per acre of trees, here is some information about the main purpose behind carbon credits, encompassing 2 ideas as mentioned below.
- To reduce carbon emissions through human activities
- To prevent emitted carbon from reaching the atmosphere by diverting and capturing it in secure storage.
- To remove emitted carbon from the atmosphere by various means including agroforestry, secure storage, and/or perennial grasses
However, to generate carbon credits, the following methods are accepted. Take a look while you are at how many carbon credits per tree.
1. Anaerobic Methane Digesters
These digesters place farm waste like manure into airtight chambers. There emitted gases are harnessed and converted into energy that can be used to power electrical devices. The methane digesters are credited at 18.25 metric tons of carbon dioxide per ton of methane per year.
2. Conservation Farming
Eligible projects are required to use no or low till practices on agricultural land. The exchange credits are 0.4 or 0.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per acre per year.
Also Read: 5 Major Agrivoltaics Disadvantages
3. Grass Plantings
The credits are received at 1.0 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. A mix of native grass species is known to have the most efficient biomass accumulation. And with exchange contracts, up to 1 cut is allowed once a year.
4. Tree Plantings
Under this method, forestry is also included in the plantation that began after 1990 on land that was not once a forest. Afforestation land, forest enrichment, passive reforestation, and reforestation via plantings are included in the projects accepted for carbon credits. Trees with 3-4 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year to 7 metric tons per acre per year are included. However, in this context, the age of trees matters because after 20–25 years their growth rate decreases along with the amount of carbon sequestration.
So, how many carbon credits per acre of trees? The answer to this depends on the type, species, carbon sequestration amount, along with age and other factors of trees. How do you calculate carbon credit for a tree? The answer to this is usually determined by the exchange rules that deal in carbon credits. But here you can use the calculator to get a rough idea of the same. The amount of carbon dioxide removed, absorbed, or destroyed by trees in 1 metric ton per acre per year is their capability in carbon sequestration. And in exchange for this power of their trees, landowners get to earn carbon credits.
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