Science Week: Tree Planting in Agricultural Science

Right now, the issue of climate change is the most important scientific issue facing humanity at the moment.

As part of Science Week 2019, our Agricultural Science classes learnt that Science Foundation Ireland were planning to host many events around the country including planting trees. This initiative gave us the opportunity to speak with our teacher about the science behind climate change, about what actions we can take as a class, the impact they might have and the benefit we might expect in relation to capturing carbon emissions.

As trees grow, they absorb and store the carbon dioxide emissions that are increasing global warming. Planting a tree is a slow process that we will monitor over the next three years in Donabate Community College but it is one of the most effective ways of capturing carbon that we can implement in school, our community and country.

Trees suck up carbon from the atmosphere and lock it away in their wood, a process known as carbon sequestration. In a managed forest, trees are harvested and used for construction, providing a greener alternative to materials such as concrete.

Irish forests absorb four million tonnes of carbon a year, or 70% of all emissions from Irish cars. We learnt that if you left a forest unmanaged, trees would naturally start to die, which would emit the carbon again, which is why the real success of managed forestry is that for every tree that is felled, three would be planted in its place, which maximises the amount of carbon a forest can absorb and lock away.

On Thursday in class, we planted oak trees from conkers along with oak saplings. Some of the group also planted holly trees. With the weather so cold outside, we are growing them in small pots inside to give them a better and more monitored start to keep them alive until there are more suitable weather conditions outside.

As a class we would like to thank Ms Gallagher for providing the trees and soil and allowing us to do this project during class. We really enjoyed it! Watch this space for our TY Agricultural Groups trees growing in Donabate Community College!

Article with thanks to TY Journalism and Agricultural Science student Amy O’Flaherty!