Westward Independent

Could North Cowichan already celebrate Net-Zero?

by Westward Independent
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The following article is written to promote thought and intrigue surrounding climate policies and related taxes on residents.
If you enjoy a bit of math and speculation, this article might be for you!


Using statistics available on sciencedirect.com, ancientforestalliance.org, and North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Overview from 2019, we can provide an estimate for the average age of trees in North Cowichan, of 74.94 years, rounded up to 75 years old.


According to treeplantation.com, an average 75-year-old tree will remove approximately 30-42 pounds of carbon each year. Using this calculation, we will use the average of 36 pounds of carbon per year, for each tree within North Cowichan.


The North Cowichan Forest Reserve is approximately 5,000 hectares. Estimates range from 1,400 – 3,200 trees per hectare in an active forest. Once again we’ll select the middle of the average, at 2,300.
Therefore, North Cowichan’s Forest Reserve contains approximately 2,300 (Trees) X 5,000 (Hectares of land) = 11,500,000 trees. Please note this number could be as low as 7,000,000 and as high as 16,000,000.


Using the average we calculated above, at 36 pounds per year of carbon removed per tree, we can estimate our Municipal Forest Reserve to remove approximately 414,000,000 pounds, or 207,000 tons per year.


According to the North Cowichan Environmental team, yearly carbon emissions equal 337,822 tons. With these numbers, we can calculate how much of our emissions are removed by the municipal forest reserve, which is 61%. The MFR accounts for around 1/4 of the total area within North Cowichan. With the remaining approximately 15,000 hectares, we can estimate between 100 – 400 trees per hectare, for a total count of trees around 1,500,000 and 6,000,000. As before we’ll select the middle of the two, for a total of 3,750,000. For an additional carbon removal of 67,500 tons.


Therefore, using the best estimates we could gather, and selecting just the median numbers, the trees around North Cowichan remove 274,500 tons of carbon emissions per year. With North Cowichan reporting 337,822 of annual carbon emissions,

Our available forest likely removes 81% of our emissions.


This suggests we are only 19% away from our goal of ‘net zero’ for carbon emissions, with absolutely no additional measures taken.
Factoring in the range of carbon removal per tree, the forest in North Cowichan could potentially be scrubbing between approximately 105,000 tons to 336,000 tons of carbon annually. This range accounts for both the uncertainty in tree density and the variable carbon removal rates per tree.


A very interesting viewpoint as our local government, both elected and staff, looks to spend taxpayer dollars into the future of carbon emission reduction and removal. One might question the veracity and focus on a situation that seems well-contained, respected, and even possibly resolved.

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