By Susan Murphy, KPSB
San Diego, CA (January 22, 2013) – Last year’s mapping of San Diego County’s urban forest shows its 331,632 trees have reduced an estimated 24.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Arborists, local governments and volunteers helped complete the mapping, which was organized by the California Center for Sustainable Energy and also shows other benefits of urban trees.
This represents just a small fraction of the county’s urban canopy. While the count isn’t currently getting official credit through California’s new cap-and-trade program, the trees are proving their value at helping to fight climate change. The cap-and-trade program allows registered projects and verified trees to be used for carbon offsets.
The map also calculates how many gallons of stormwater trees help filter and how many kilowatt-hours of energy they are conserving. This data can then be available to municipal officials to better specify and manage their city’s trees. San Diego County lost an estimated 30% of its tree canopy in the 2003 and 2007 wildfires.