Environment

Environmental Responsibility

Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Forests have have an important role to play in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Trees capture carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases, from the atmosphere and store it in trunks, branches, foliage and roots. Typically, about half a tree’s dry weight is carbon, which can be multiplied roughly by 3.7 to work out how much carbon dioxide the tree has sucked from the atmosphere. ArborGen will sell over 400 million tree seedlings this year which will re-forest 800,000 acres.

The rate of carbon absorption through forest depends on the speed of the plants’ growth. Pine in particular, is adept at growing fast and absorbing carbon dioxide while it is still young. In New Zealand it is estimated that every hectare of exotic pine sequesters more than twice as much carbon as a hectare of indigenous forest. Forests planted with advanced genetics will sequester substantially more, as these seedlings are designed to grow faster.

In 2020, our conifer seedlings were planted on approximately 600,000 acres in the US, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia. The forests that develop from those seedlings will sequester around 64 million tonnes of carbon over their 25 year life. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), those tons of carbon consumption will offset the carbon emissions from all the cars in Auckland, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Paris and London for a full year.

We plant trees on all acreage feasible around our nurseries to drive carbon capture, reduce soil erosion and optimise soil conditions.

We estimate that approximately 400 million tons of CO2 has been absorbed from the atmosphere in the last 10 years by the trees provided by ArborGen to our customers.

ArborGen Hardwood Seedlings Serve Environmental Needs

Hardwoods, such as oaks, ash and tupelos, are used to reconstitute the native mix of trees found in bottomlands and other sensitive land areas. They are often used as part of planting programmes for the protection and renewal of important or damaged areas in projects such as restoring wetlands, reclaiming lands used for surface mining and conserving wildlife habitat. Over the last five years, across 1,000 square miles, 30 million of our seedlings, comprising more than 40 different species of hardwoods, have gone into environmental plantings in the US.

Sustainable Operational Practices

We use a portfolio of US EPA registered chemicals including fertilisers, fungicides, insecticides and herbicides, and follow recommended best practices to minimise the impact on the environment and safety for all concerned. Integrated Pest Management efforts are used to minimise chemical usage including monitoring for insects and targeted site specific treatments.

We grow our tree seedlings at a very high density, reducing the acreage required for growing the crop.

Land management practices are employed to minimise runoff and the impact on the local environment.

Our network of nurseries are strategically located to supply landowners in each major growing region, minimising the transport distance for pick up or delivery of seedlings.

We optimise deliveries through larger loads and pooled orders, to reduce transport emissions and pack seedlings at maximum density to reduce packaging requirements.

We have large walk-in coolers which allows us to store seedlings until sufficient quantity is available for a full load going to the customer.

We have a carefully managed water usage policy and use technology and automation to ensure the most efficient use of water when required for irrigation.

ArborGen is a member of the Forest Landowners Association and the Forest Resources Association, and a supporter of the American Forest Foundation for family forest owners. Our customers are members of global, national and regional sustainability and environmental forestry organisations, including the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council.

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