Latest pet peeve..... Trees are somehow magic. ARRRGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!
Time to unload some nasty truth bombs.
First backgrounder. I am very involved with holistic managed regenerative farming. It is not a one piece fits all solution. HMRF (Holistic Managed Regenerative Farming) involves a complex planning process, an execution followed by a monitoring period.
In short it is very similar to the Combat estimate. The combat estimate is created by the commander and his/her/its team based on mission assigned and the context to which they must plan then execute said mission. HMRF is very similar. Some examples of context.
-If you live in Nunavut, you would not plant banana trees as part of your farm
-If your customers are 99% muslim, raising pork would be self defeating
-If the law forbids you to sell raw milk without quota, it would be foolish to do so
-If your farming in the tropics, don't raise something like highland cattle
You get the drift, right? Its important to understand this portion before we move forward. My hero and mentor, Allan Savory (himself long ago an infantry officer), makes sure people understand context and language as part of your Holistic framework or context (similar to a concept of operations).
Many of the organizations I deal with, both in person and through the internet, are full of well intended BUT UNREALISTIC wish washy people or at least their thoughts.
"Meat/beef is bad for the planet"
"Permaculture is what we all need"
"Carbon is bad and we must get it out of the atmosphere" Thats a good one, we will all die without carbon. We need to cycle it, not remove it.
"We only have X years left/The cities will flood in X years/The world can not change course if we wait X time"
"Planting more/billions/all trees will save the planet"
Lets take the last one and tear it apart. My fellow soldiers/sailors/airmen...ooops, not very Trudeau, air people? YOU will understand this and get it. Why? Be cause military deals with FACTS. Cold hard straight up mean FACTS. We have to deal in facts or we all die doing our jobs (facts such as incoming fire is bad, gravity with a failing aircraft is bad, blowing up is not fun, thirty foot waves are best avoided, enemy combatants want to kill us, you guys get the gist of what I am saying). Facts allow us to succeed, not wish washy ideals.
Trees. Trees are plants. ALL plants (trees, weeds, legumes, shrubs, grasses, flowers, annual or perennials) have a place in functioning ecosystems. All land based plants do pretty much the same thing. Pull Carbon out of the air through Stemata pores in the leaves (active growing leaves ONLY not dormant), they pull up Hydrogen-2 parts Oxygen (H2O or water, that shit that all infantryman see plenty of on ex) through the roots.
The Carbon is combined with the Hydrogen and some of the Oxygen to make a Carbon Hydrogen Oxygen chain AKA Carbohydrates. Some of the oxygen is split and released to the atmosphere (where anything with lungs is thankful). The carbohydrates usually start off as simple sugars but eventually some are formed into starches, then cellulose, hemicellulose, lignins which are structual, etc.
"Rick, your fooking killing me with this, get to it" OK troops, patience. Getting there.
To sum it up. ALL land based plants take carbon, grow and release oxygen. Got that? Cool.
So trees. Trees are simply plants. In some part of the global ecosystems they are naturally in a large abundance (amazon and BC rain forest for example). In other areas they are very scarce (prairies, steppe or tundra environments). Or they are somewhere in between (Ontario woodlands with meadows, African Savanahs, etc).
So depending on the context and how trees are planted, they can be a real benefit or an environmental detriment.
Here are some of my observations on trees
-Never plant in a monoculture. Natures does not do this, it destroys the soil and eventually kills the trees. I have a 2 acre jack pine forest on my farm planted 35-40 years ago as an "environmental incentive" and the whole damn forest is DEAD. No animals or birds, or anything. Just 2 acres of standing firewood (please lightning, don't strike) with only a few branches in the top 10% of the canopy still green. ish. Now, go to a walk to the other side of the property and the natural 100+ year old forest has many species of maple, birches, cedars and a whole slew of other trees and bushes. The wildlife is abundance their and the trees are all healthy looking. Monoculture for trees = BAD.
-For the Ontario farm context, meadows and northern savanah seems best. Having grasslands mixed with spaced out trees (we call a silvopasture) provides an excellent base for a fully functioning ecosystem. Grass provides "skin", trees provide the "shade" and the herding ruminants keep the whole system functioning.
-Grasses (for an understanding, a ten foot by ten foot plot of land can easily grow 500-1,000 lbs of grass leaves, thats alot of carbon getting pulled into the plant) start greening up (in my AOR, Grey County) about early April-May. That means they are pulling carbon in. Most of the trees don't start emerging leaves until very late May (in other words, grasses have probably pulled in a few thousand pounds of carbon by the time trees get started). Hows that for a paradigm shifter?
-Spacing. Your section commander was absolutely correct when he kicked your backends for not spacing out enough in your formations. So goes with trees in Ontario. Please for the love of common sense, stop planting trees on top of each other. I have saved several maple and apple trees by culling off the weak ones and letting the strong persist. I also had my cows have access to my some of my trees. They saved a badly blight infected apple tree. They rubbed off the fungus off the bark and destroyed every branch below six feet. Now that apple tree is booming, providing excellent fruit and with branches so far off the ground, its hard for fungal infections to take hold.
-Grass first, then trees. Nature has a natural plant succession on dead ground (think post fire, volcano, etc). There have been many examples of well intended oxygen thieves trying to "green up" deserts by planting trees and failing miserably (Israel, Saudi Arabia, China, Many places in Africa). You MUST follow plant succession. Weeds and Annual grasses. Perennial grasses. Shrubs and bushes. then forest.
Anywho. I think I will end it for tonight. I may come back to this or I may move onto tear apart the other wish washy male bovine excrement.