ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Plant Trees Fix Carbon

ECO-Tours have been planting trees since the mid eighties. Hundreds of thousands of living beings are spreading their canopies and providing essential shade for a myriad of other critters and organisms. Each year they lay down another layer of carbon based storage in their tree rings, branches, roots and in the leaf litter that is slowly building up under them. When we started, it would have been hard to imagine what we would grow into, but the time keeps passing and we get stronger and more efficient as time goes by. When we started, only one person funded our work and that is myself. The only money I had available was a once per year check from my tax return which I would promptly turn into trees, buying them wholesale. Then I would ride my bicycle with a cart behind it, looking for likely prospects for planting. A great group of friends and relatives would help to plant along hedgerows, in river bottoms and on hillsides, placing each tree carefully in a spot that would be perfect for that species. Because we work with all volunteer labor and our administrative costs are provided by volunteers as well, all of our income is free to buy more tree seedlings and dirt to plant them in. As we grew, we needed to find a way to add hold time to our young sprouts, so we occasionally buy soil to plant the trees in and have over 1000 plastic pots that we use to create temporary nurseries. Through the years, we have had hundreds of visitors, each one giving of time/money or both to help get trees planted, potted up, protected from hungry critters and released from crowding tendrils of their competitors, all in the hope of creating forests where there had been none.

Many of our first trees are now taller than houses, casting much needed shade over many acres, providing habitat for billions of critters. As we mature as a group, we continue to research to find better and better ways of caring for the trees, increasing survival rates and becoming more efficient in our efforts. Our next few small cost capital expenditures are for a few pieces of hardware that will allow us to transform soils more quickly, and with less effort. The trees have a much better chance of survival if the soil is first broken and aerated. This begins the life processes upon which soil health begins. trees are only as healthy as the soils that they grow on. We are looking for donors to sponsor investment in at least one broadfork these human powered tools give all the benefits of tilling, but none of the drawbacks. Rototillers, in addition to compacting the lower half of their range tend to bounce off heavy clay soils and the stench that they spew, as well as the noise are completely at odds with our efforts to heal the planet. The broadfork is designed to break the soil open so that biological activity can begin to penetrate the earth, not turn the ground to powder. Once air and moisture can move through the soil easily, bacteria, fungi and other organisms can get a foothold and begin to flourish. Second, we are putting a call out to our supporters that we want to add some tools to our arsenal for helping to pick up more native tree seeds faster.We spend many hours each year as nut gatherers. 
These uniquely designed tools afford a way to effectively harvest tree seeds that help fuel our efforts. Trees have an even better chance of survival if they are sprouted in the same place that they will eventually grow and our nut planting efforts are increasing every year. several of these tools would help us to increase our efficiency and save many hours of labor. We are also designing a container for making char. This will allow direct introduction of bio-char to soils, increasing their carbon content for centuries as well as providing habitat for sopiul organisms that help to stabilize both moisture content and moderate extremes of climate, thus easing the stresses on our plantings. Carbon sequestration can take many forms and we are always in search of the most efficient ways to undo some of the ecocide that humans have been engaged in for the last century or so. Bio-char may be new to some, so I am including one more link to help explain this amazing process by which we can enhance soil quality and inject carbon into, rather than harvest it from the Earth. Biochar

We ask everyone to give what they can to our efforts. If you cannot afford to donate, contact us anyway and we can design a custom tour that you can take in your own backyard.

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