Almost 50% of the original trees that grew on Earth have been cleared. In addition, 15 billion trees are cut down every year. That’s 275 million trees every single day!
Since the mid 1970’s, climate scientists have warned the governments and people of the world that the Earth was facing a climate change crisis caused by human activity, including the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere as a by-product of burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas.
Today, we are beginning to see the results of the countries of the world ignoring this issue:
One of the major causes of climatic change is deforestation. Trees take in carbon dioxide and produce breathable oxygen and water. In fact, trees are one of the world’s most important tools in carbon sequestration. In the past century, the need for agricultural land and other development has led governments to promote massive deforestation in many countries. In some countries, farmers use fire to clear trees, which releases additional carbon and combustion gases. Aggressive tilling of the soil releases more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Not the Solution. It would be a delusion of grandeur to say we have The Solution to climate change; we do, however have a solution that would reforest denuded land with productive trees, while at the same time giving local farmers employment.
Our solution rests on the Paulownia tree, a fast-growing variety of deciduous tree, native to much of China, south to northern Laos and Vietnam and which have been long cultivated elsewhere in eastern Asia, notably in Japan and Korea. The Paulownia has been cultivated in China for 2,000 years and in Japan for centuries. Paulownia is known in Japanese as Kiri; it is also known there as the “princess tree.” Paulownia are used as ornamental trees in European gardens. Paulownia is considered the fastest growing hardwood tree on Earth. Once the trees are harvested, they regenerate from their existing root systems, earning them the name of the “Phoenix tree.”
Paulownia trees can grow to maturity in under 10 years and produce strong, lightweight timber, with an extremely high strength to weight ratio. If one creates the necessary growth conditions for it, a Paulownia can grow over five meters in one year and produce as much wood volume as a mature oak in one tenth of the time. A Paulownia’s girth can increase by about 10 to 12 cm per year.
A Paulownia can have an oversized impact on the climate and the local environment. Due to its large leaves, a Paulownia can absorb significantly more CO2 than most other trees, which is why in its natural location, the Paulownia is often called the “lungs of the cities.” Each year, one hectare of Paulownia trees can absorb up to 100 tons of CO2 and produce 75 tons of oxygen. Additionally, the Paulownia blossoms produce a superior variety of honey that is very popular, with a ready market. We intend to grow 2500 trees per hectare, land conditions permitting.
Another advantage, the Paulownia is very resistant to disease, pests and insects. The Paulownia is also very adaptable and tolerant of climatic conditions. There are numerous cultivars of Paulownia bred for the conditions we anticipate, including for cultivation on plantations.