Why we sell trees instead of carbon bonds

Several factors  are decisive in the calculation of the price  per ton of carbon:  

  • Share of pastureland per purchased property
  • Percentage of pastureland to be reforested 
  • Number of trees to be planted per property
  • Cost of land purchase
  • Cost of reforestation

Since these numbers change from property to property, it is impossible to determine a stable price of CO2 per hectare. Prices per tonne of CO2 can be as low as $6 (purchase of already existing forest) to $40 (purchase of pastureland AND it's reforestation with 800 species per hectare). With help from the University of Vienna and the University of Life Science, however, it was possible to determine the smallest denominator: the storage of carbon per planted tree. 

Land is purchased and 800 trees from 100 species are planted per hectare. Each tree sequesters 700 kg of carbon dioxide and costs $20. You can Sie können Ihren ökologischen Fussabdruck verringern und Ihren persönlichen CO2-Ausstoss  durch den symbolischen Kauf von Regenwaldbäumen kompensieren.  Der Pro-Kopf Ausstoß an CO2 in Österreich beträgt jährlich 8-10 Tonnen.  Wenn Sie 12-15 Bäume pro Jahr "kaufen", leben Sie CO2-neutral. Hier geht es zum Bestellschein!

Trees Amount CO2 Price in Euro
1 700 kg 18,00
2 1,4 t 36,00
5 3,5 t 90,00
10 7,0 t 180,00

Biologists from the University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) have calculated a common denominator: the average amount of CO2 captured by a single tree per year. Assuming a density of 800 trees per hectare, one tree captures 11.4 kg (study by BOKU) or  12.3 kg (study by University of Vienna).

Based on an average between these two studies, we assume that one planted rainforest tree captures 11.7 kg of CO2 during it's average lifespan of 60 years. During it's entire life, a tree captures 700 kg. of carbon dioxide.

Reforestation is expensive

The NGO Rainforest of the Austrians previously  financed two reforestation projects in the Biological Corridor COBIGA: from 2010 to 2012, 7 hectares of the Finca La Bolsa were planted with 6000  individual trees from 113 species, from 2012 to 2014 13.7 hectares of the Finca Amable were planted with 11.000 individuals from 100 species.  The cost of 18 Euros ($ 19) per tree (or 14.400 Euros if 800 trees are planted per hectare) is compounded from:

  • Chemical studies of the soil
  • Preparation and planing of the terrain
  • Drainage, digging of drainage canals
  • Collecting of seeds and seedlings from the forest
  • Raising of seedlings in the nursery Finca Modelo in La Gamba
  • Production of worm compost
  • Labeling and planting of seedlings
  • Fertilizing
  • Care of the trees over a period of three years
  • Pruning, thinning and substituting dead trees
  • Salary, room and board for forestry engineer
  • Salary and meals for local volunteers
  • Scientific accompaniment through La Gamba Field Station
  • Machines, tools, construction materials
  • Transportation (Pick-Up), gasoline
  • Insurance of workers and vehicle
  • Education of volunteers
  • Accounting

Prominent professors from the University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources have compiled detailed studies which affirm that one reforested hectare captures 548 or 590 tonnes of CO2 per year over a period of 60 years. Based on a density of 800 individuals per hectare, this results in an average yearly absoption of 11.4 kg ( 548.000/800/60) or 12.3 kg (590.000/800/60) per tree. We assume an average of 700 kilograms during a lifespan of 60 years. Here you can download the studies by the University of Vienna and the University of Natural Resources, We are sorry that these studies are not availabe in English.


Initiates file downloadUniversität Wien
Initiates file downloadUniversität für Bodenkultur