By Tim Manns
Planting trees to sequester carbon
National Audubon research identifies climate change as the single greatest threat to birds as their habitat shifts and shrinks. We look to governments and corporations to address the climate crisis at the large-scale necessary, but we also want to do what we can do as individuals. If you own property, one positive and concrete action is to plant trees to keep carbon out of the atmosphere, the more and bigger the trees the better. To encourage tree planting, the Carbon Capture Foundation based in Longview, Washington makes trees available at no cost. Skagit Audubon is working with this small foundation to bring this opportunity to its members and their friends and neighbors.
At this point we are assessing the level of interest to see if it is sufficient to achieve an economy of scale and keep costs low. The list of trees below is based on what we believe available from nearby sources. It includes deciduous trees particularly good for birds and pollinators as well as conifers that will grow to large size and sequester more carbon. All trees the Carbon Capture Foundation provides will be bare root, rather than in pots, and will need to be planted soon after being received. Delivery could be as early as this January at a central location to be determined. There may be several pick-up dates depending on plant availability and to meet participants’ convenience.
You’ve probably noticed that trees planted in large restoration projects in Skagit County usually have protectors around them, often blue tubes. These help deter voles, mice, rabbits, deer, and other creatures who would like to eat your plants. Survival of planted trees is much higher with protectors. The Carbon Capture Foundation will likely not be able to provide these. By ordering in bulk, we hope to offer protectors plus the bamboo stake used to hold each in place at around $2.00 per tree. So, while the trees themselves will be free, it is possible participants in this program will need to pay $2 per tree to protect them. You may have a site where protectors are not needed, but they’re generally a good investment in ensuring the success of your planting efforts.
If you own property where you would plant more trees, please contact Tim Manns (firstname.lastname@example.org) with which species from the list below you would like and how many of each. If possible, please send your list by December 20.
Washington Native Plant Society has plant lists for different habitats and conditions which can help you select trees on this list that will work on your property: https://www.wnps.org/native-gardening/resources#habitat. Open the list best describing your spot and see which of the listed species below appear there.
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Western red cedar (Thuja plicata)-pictured above, Grand fir (Abies grandis)
Deciduous Trees: Big leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), Red alder (Alnus rubra), Black cottonwood (Populus balsamifera ssp. trichocarpa), Pacific crabapple (Malus fusca), Cascara (Rhamnus [Frangula] purshiana)
Please tell your friends and neighbors about this opportunity if you think they may have a suitable place for planting trees. (Note: the intention is not to provide trees to replant harvested areas where replanting is required under Washington’s Forest Practice Rules.)
Thank you for doing what you can to address the climate crisis and doing so in a way that also supports birds and pollinators. The Carbon Capture Foundation is a 501C3 charitable organization and can accept donations if you are so inclined (https://www.thecarboncapturefoundation.org)
Audubon Priorities for the 2022 Washington State Legislative Session
Read about Audubon’s priorities for the coming legislative session (January 10 – March 10, 2022) at https://wa.audubon.org/news/legislative-agenda-birds. If you act quickly, you may be in time to participate in the December 7th virtual advocacy day when Audubon members statewide will speak with their state legislators about these priorities. Register at the website above.
For information on issues Skagit Audubon is tracking go to “Conservation Notes” under the “Conservation” tab on the chapter’s website (www.skagitaudubon.org).