Carbon Capture – The Importance Of Urban trees CO2 Absorption

One of the main motivators for this campaign is that the public, the government, charities and environmental groups continually vaunt their tree-planting numbers, yet do not seem to have taken on board the massive difference between the carbon capture of saplings and mature trees.

In the Queen’s Wood Oaks campaign Prof Duckett looked at the green credentials posted on the website of Insurance Giant AXA, where it was proudly presented that their members of staff visited Heartwood Forest to plant over 2,500 trees. He calculated that if we assume these were typical 10-year-old saplings, each with a carbon capture of 0.1 pounds/year, this equals a total of 250 pounds of carbon capture per annum.

If AXA had succeeded in cutting down the 4 oaks in North London’s Queen’s wood, each with a carbon capture of more than 60 pounds per annum this would have equalled a total loss of at least 240 pounds of carbon capture and undone all the good work done in Heartwood forest towards helping the UK meet its climate change commitments.

Calculations by Jeffrey G Duckett  B.A., PhD., Cantab., FLS, FZS
Emeritus Professor of Botany, QMUL and research associate NHM
Linnean Society Medal for Botany 2008

The Climate Crisis Is NOW

0 trees
New trees needed
0 tree
To replace one mature oak!

We must save existing mature trees NOW, as well as planting new ones for the future.

You would need to plant 150 new trees to break even on the carbon cost of felling just one mature oak!

Trees Improve Our Towns

Street scene with treesStreet after felling

The True Value Of Living Trees

The constant pursuit of economic growth means a tree’s value is only counted when it’s cut down.

If we really want to tackle Climate Change we need a total SHIFT in thinking!

Trees Protect And Help Us In So Many Ways

  • Trees absorb carbon dioxide and turn it into oxygen. 
  • They help reduce air pollution, both inside and outside our homes.
  • Trees reduce the temperature of our pavements and the cars we park under them (insert photos).
  • They shield us from the noises of the city.
  • Trees are also an important tool in flood prevention.
  • Trees lift our spirits, not only improving our mood but helping us recover more quickly from illness.
  • Trees inspire art and poetry
  • Trees provide a home and food for a multitude of species.
  • Leafy streets are also associated with lower crime levels.
  • They even increase the value of our homes.
  • Without trees, our towns and cities would be very different places.
Trees under threat from insurance claims in Haringey NOW
Trees felled every day in the UK. 2015 -2018 (source Sunday Times)
Trees felled by councils 2015 – 2018 (Source Sunday Times)


Have you already been involved in a tree-saving campaign? If so, let us know!

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When the heat has passed you forget about the shade of trees

Japanese proverb

“Even trees do not die without a groan”

Henry David Thoreau

“The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“It is difficult to realize how great a part of all that is cheerful and delightful in the recollections of our own life is associated with trees.”

Wilson Flagg

When the tree falls the shadow flies

Chinese proverb

“I said to the almond tree, ‘Friend, speak to me of God,’ and the almond tree blossomed.”

Nikos Kazantzakis

“A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.”

William Blake

“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world.  To be poor and have trees is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy”

Clarissa Pinkola Estés

“The tree which moves some to tears of  joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in their way.”

William Blake

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money

Cree proverb

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools”

John Muir

“The best friend on earth of man is the tree. When we use the tree respectfully and economically, we have one of the greatest resources on the earth.”

Frank Lloyd Wright

“To exist as a nation, to prosper as a state, to live as a people, we must have trees.”

Theodore Roosevelt

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach … the ancient law of life.”

Hermann Hesse

“A tree which has lost its head will never recover it again, and will survive only as a monument of the ignorance and folly of its Tormentor.”

George William Curtis