“Elite” trees absorb more carbon dioxide by growing faster
environment Apr 6, 2022

“Elite” trees absorb more carbon dioxide by growing faster

Nippon Paper Industries has developed “elite” trees than mature more quickly and capture more CO2

By Yui Sawada
J-STORIES - Cedar and cypress saplings that grow about one-and-a-half times faster than normal are being actively developed as a way to boost the “decarbonizing” power of forests to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.
Cedar and the Japanese cypress (hinoki) are Japan’s most widely-distributed trees. But it takes approximately 40 years for them to mature, and it is thought that once that happens, their power to absorb CO2 declines. According to Japan’s Forestry Agency, more than half of the nation’s planted forests are already over 50 years old, and if forests continue to age at their current rate, their decarbonizing effect could get even weaker.
“Elite” trees that quickly reach maturity have been developed to solve this problem. Nippon Paper Industries, which has planted elite cedar and cypress trees in 90,000 hectares of its forests in Japan, is the first private company to begin mass production and sale of elite saplings.
Cedar cuttings             https://www.nipponpapergroup.com/csr/npg_esgdb2021_P19-21.pdf
Cedar cuttings             https://www.nipponpapergroup.com/csr/npg_esgdb2021_P19-21.pdf
Elite trees are the best of the best trees produced by crossing fast-growing trees with other fast-growing trees. The faster trees grown, the more CO2 is absorbed over the same period. And it is said that cedar elite trees release less pollen than conventional varieties.
The company has already begun growing elite tree saplings in Kumamoto and Hokkaido prefectures, and this January it obtained the necessary business licenses to grow saplings in Shizuoka, Oita, Hiroshima, and Tottori prefectures. It plans to mass produce 600,000 saplings during fiscal 2024 then start shipping them spring 2025.
Elite trees nurtured by Nippon Paper Industries               https://www.nipponpapergroup.com/
Elite trees nurtured by Nippon Paper Industries               https://www.nipponpapergroup.com/
The company is also working on tree-planting overseas. On a Brazilian plantation, its method of choosing superior trees using DNA analysis of Eucalyptus has reached the stage of practical use. The company is now working on a demonstration experiment to shorten the 12-year process of selecting the best varieties to five years.
Next the company hopes to expand its tree-growing technology to Southeast Asia and other regions, make the global procurement of materials for papermaking more efficient, and simultaneously push forwards with decarbonization efforts to increase CO2 absorption.
 Translation and Editing by Tony McNicol 
 Top page photo by blianol/Envato
 For inquires about this article, please contact us at jstories@pacificbridge.jp

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