feature image

Pecan Farmers Reducing Large Amounts of Atmospheric Carbon

The pecan industry has been growing and so have the trees in the farmers orchards. Pecan trees are reducing atmospheric carbon at rates higher than many in the industry realized. 


The average US car owner of an average mid sized sedan drives about 12,000 miles per year generating around 11,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2). A flight across country, from New York to Los Angeles produces about 1,400 pounds of CO2 per passenger. 


While there are several ways of estimating carbon uptake in trees, such as digging up the tree weighing it wet and then weighing again when dried out, and estimating the carbon weight, the USDA’s Forest Service has created an online tool that allows us to select the type of tree along with the tree size and the web based tools does all the calculations for us. 


Using this tool we can estimate that a pecan tree with a 10-inch diameter will reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) by 118 pounds in that year. If we assume a 35 tree per acre average for this size tree we can assume around 4,130 lbs of CO2 captured per acre this year, and these numbers increase over time as the tree grows. 


Based on these estimates, with around 3 acres of pecan trees we can capture the average commuters CO2 output for the entire year of daily driving while using it to produce some of the healthiest plant proteins on the planet. 


And that is just the CO2 captured, air quality is another big benefit of pecan trees as they naturally filter pollutants and improve air quality. 


Water quality is also a benefit of pecan trees, pecan trees grown in the southeastern US use storm water run off and naturally filter the water that would otherwise enter our water systems without being filtered. 


Pecan trees are a great solution to a growing world population and the need to produce more food that is healthy for human consumption as well as being healthy for the planet making pecan farmers some of the hero’s of our climate issues.