The Treasure Valley’s verdant tree canopy gives the capital city more than just its nickname. According to a new report by the Treasure Valley Canopy Network, trees are one of our best tools in fighting back against climate change locally.
Members of the network include cities throughout the valley and state agencies. Since 2013, the group has planted more than 8,000 trees. Bas Hargrove is with the Nature Conservancy and helped write the report, and says the number of trees planted has a direct correlation to carbon dioxide levels.
“If each person in the Treasure Valley were to plant a large and a medium-sized tree each year," Hargrove says, "we could offset the amount of driving.”
The report found that in 25 years these 8,000 existing trees will have stored enough carbon to equal taking 5,400 cars off the road for a year. He says as the effects of climate change become more tangible in the Treasure Valley, the value of these efforts increases.
“Back around 1940 you’d have one or two [or] three 100-degree days. Now we’re typically having over 10 – or averaging about 10 per year.”
The report recommends that the network "facilitate strategic planting projects with partners to secure City Forest Credits sold to local carbon buyers." Hargrove says carbon offset credits could help incentivize local businesses to participate in greening the valley.
“Say there’s a new park going in in Boise or Meridian or Kuna or Nampa – and they have a plan to plant 100 or 1,000 trees. You could develop carbon credits around those and market those to a local business.”
But Hargrove says planting more trees isn’t a silver bullet, and more comprehensive solutions to climate change should also be targeted.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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