Carbon Offset Tree Planting Calculator: Find How Many Trees to Plant

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Carbon Offsets Credits | March 28, 2024

Two people in work clothes, with saplings, looking at a feild of dirt and wondering how many trees to plant, and thinking that they need a carbon offset tree planting calculator.

Have you ever wondered how many trees it takes to erase the negative environmental impact of something like your drive to work… A carbon offset tree planting calculator can figure it out instantly!

Try it now!

Measure Emissions with a Carbon Offset Calculator

Trees suck in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere… in fact, they are nature’s most effective and efficient carbon capture technology!

While scientists around the world are working to develop high tech solutions to the excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) problem, native forests are busy scrubbing the air. And, by using a carbon offset tree planting calculator, you can determine how many trees would need to be planted to offset the carbon emissions produced by a specific action or activity.

This guide will show you how you can calculate your footprint with a carbon offset tree planting calculator and use that information to determine how you can offset your carbon emissions by planting trees that erase them.1

Trees: Nature’s Most Powerful Carbon Capture Technology

Did you know that not all trees sequester (remove) the same amount of carbon dioxide from the air? Although all trees grab and store carbon emissions in their leaves, branches, trunks and roots, some are better than others at storing carbon.

When used as an ecological program, like reforestation, a carbon offset tree planting calculator can provide you with the specifics you need to know, like:

  • How many trees you need to remove carbon emissions for any action
  • The type of trees that remove the most carbon emissions
  • The location of the tree planting operation

All of these factors are important for removing GHGs from the planet… naturally.

Trees Increase Earth’s Carbon Capture Storage Capacity

You may be thinking, great! I’ll plant some trees tomorrow in my backyard and make a difference for the world!

While that would be awesome… the backyard variety of and species available for most home plants simply aren’t as effective as other, native forests. So, although planting more trees anywhere is a great thing to do, tree planting offsets, when invested using reforestation programs, impact the amount of carbon you can remove from the air.

The reason for this is location.

Some native forests are much more adept at storing and removing carbon emissions than others. In fact, scientists have been studying this phenomenon for decades.

The key is ensuring that the plantings will be protected forever… not later “harvested,’ in 20-40 years. Here’s what this means.

Mangrove Forests: Carbon Capture Technology Combined With Coastal Preservation

When a mangrove tree grows, it doesn’t grow alone. Mangroves are part of a vast interconnected underground system that flourishes in wetlands. Because Mangroves exist in an ecosystem that straddles both land and sea, they are uniquely able to sequester (remove) high levels of carbon, storing it on the ocean floor.

In fact, as Mangrove roots grow, they increase the level of the ocean floor, and as the sea level (and the mangrove forest) builds up, so does the amount of GHGs it captures. And the awesome thing is that the carbon is stored for thousands of years!

Although various species of mangroves thrive around the world, the bad news is that the amount of ‘salt’ in the water can be dangerous if it gets too high, which can happen when sea water is trapped inland. 4

Globe with mangrove forests outlined in green alongs the coasts of numerous tropical regions.

Mangroves grow in the tropics and remove carbon from the atmosphere for thousands of years (Image: Jesse Allen6).

A recent study approximates that Mangroves, around the world, store 3 billion metric tons of carbon.

Eden Reforestation has measured the average amount of CO2 absorbed by a mangrove forest at 308kg, which is approximately 0.3 metric tons per tree.

Since these trees ‘grow’ for about 25 years, that means one tree, over it’s life, can remove emissions from:

  • Driving about 732 miles
  • A flight from London to the French Riviera
  • Riding a motorcycle from Atlanta to St. Louis

Subtropical Rainforests Remove Carbon

Subtropical rainforests, although they don’t sequester as much carbon as Mangroves, have a distinct advantage. Nature designed them to be plentiful.. Like a beautiful, lush skirt, wrapped around the planet, working to scrub the atmosphere and help maintain stable weather patterns,

The problem is that human consumption (i.e. burning, clearing, and harvesting) over the past 100 years, severely diminished their numbers. The resulting climate change has spurred even more destruction with increased wildfires and droughts.

Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies has figured the Amazon holds approximately 127 billion metric tons of carbon. However, that number is decreasing and a new NASA study has shown that in some places, deforestation and fire are working to cancel out that carbon storing power and potential.

Old Growth Forests Remove GHG Emissions

Science has also found that old growth forests, woodlands that have been in place for millions of years, also keep carbon emissions at bay. Mature forests store huge amounts of CO2 and approximately, a 50-year-old oak forest (like in many Appalachian state and federal parks) can store 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide… per acre.

The larger the deciduous tree, the more carbon it can store.

Chart showing bar graph amounts of the carbon removal power of trees, based on species, in old growth forests using a carbon offset tree planting calculator.

Old growth forests have the potential to store billions of tons of carbon emissions, removing it from the atmosphere.

Protecting existing forests and planting new ones that will be protected for the long haul, is one of the most effective ways the planet has at this point, to reverse the greenhouse gas problem.

Planting Trees to Offset Harmful Carbon Dioxide Emissions

By paying for carbon offset projects that plant trees, you are participating in carbon sequestration.

Since forests have the ability to remove and store a certain amount of carbon from the atmosphere; as a forest matures and expands, its carbon storage potential increases.

So, by giving your money to holistic reforestation projects, you are helping to increase the carbon storage potential of the planet and lessening the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.

To understand just how important this is, consider this:

In 2019, a global research team calculated that the Earth could support an additional 900 million hectares of forests. Their model projected that, if forest land was increased by 25 percent, about 205 gigatons of greenhouse gasses could be extracted from the atmosphere. This would have enormous ramifications and significantly reduce the consequences of climate change.

That outcome is possible if individuals and businesses alike support global reforestation efforts.

There are also afforestation and re-vegetation efforts.

  • Afforestation is the process of establishing a forest on land that was not previously forested.
  • Re-vegetation is similar to reforestation but involves bio-matter like plants and soil to improve the health of a specific area of disturbed land.

These are all good techniques, though it is worth remembering that a forest is not just composed of the trees, but of the plants and other organic matter that makes up the ecosystem. It is not enough to just plant trees.

For example, if an invasive species is used for a afforestation project, then the resulting growth can have a ripple impact that does more harm than good.

Moreover, if the trees being planted are slated to “harvest” in 30 or 50 years, the carbon removal power will be negated.

Use the following carbon offset tree planting calculator to measure the carbon removal power of any tree!

If you are looking for a forest carbon offset program like the 51st Earth Day Carbon Offset Membership, then you need to find an organization that plants forests holistically and accounts for all of its needs.

Native Forest Regeneration and Regrowth

This means that the focus is placed on maintaining and supporting the natural biodiversity of an area. An organization cannot just plant rows of trees (especially if they aren’t native species) and call it a day; they need to be focusing on supporting pre-existing forests, like the Amazon, which have suffered severe losses in the last several decades.

As many of these organizations explain, it is not enough to simply replant the affected areas.

They are also working to strengthen the ability of these forests to adapt to change so that they are not lost again.

Reforestation is an ongoing process and will require the constant vigilance of environmentalists. But you have the ability to affect positive change. 2

How To Use a Carbon Offset Tree Planting Calculator

But how do you decide how much money to put towards carbon offsets?

It’s not as daunting as you think. By following these steps, you will be on your way to purchasing carbon offset credits and improving the carbon capture storage potential of the planet.

Step 1.  Calculate your Carbon Footprint:

In 2022, there is no shortage of free, high quality carbon footprint calculators for individuals, families, and businesses. You will want to select one that accounts for as much of your footprint as possible, so for an individual it should at least cover power usage, transportation, and food waste.

There are many other contributors to climate change in your life, but sometimes it’s difficult to determine just how big or small the impact is. For instance: clothing, particularly fast fashion, is devastating to the environment, but it’s challenging to actually calculate that impact because there is a lack of transparency surrounding the carbon emissions of companies that participate in fast fashion.

However, the calculation should include:

  • Energy Use
  • Discretionary spending habits
  • ‘Toys’ like boats, recreational vehicles and lawn equipment, etc.
  • Wastes, especially plastic
  • Transportation and Diet
  • Pet Ownership
  • Location

These are the largest carbon generators for most individuals and contribute heavily to their total eco footprint.

Businesses can measure their carbon emissions the same way, using a business carbon footprint calculator. While it works on the same principles (adding up the CO2 equivalent emissions from various factors), business footprint calculators can provide actionable information about new technologies that will lower overall emissions, and help foster sustainable operations.

At the end of the day, the more exact your data is, the closer you can get to having a footprint of net zero through carbon offsets.

Step 2. Make Changes to Your Lifestyle to Lessen Your Carbon Footprint

Before buying into carbon offsets, you should try to reduce your carbon emissions through direct changes to your routines and activities. Ideas include:

  • Composting food waste, instead of sending it to landfills
  • Carpooling or using greener transportation
  • Reducing the number of times you eat out
  • Reducing meat consumption
  • Switching to more energy efficient lights, windows, appliances
  • And hundreds of other ways that can lower your carbon emissions.

Step 3. Plant Trees to Go Net Zero

Research effective and legitimate tree planting offset organizations, projects and carbon credit companies to discover the top offset providers that are having the biggest impact on the problem. Transparency is key, and if they cannot give you this basic information, you should look elsewhere.

Lessen Your Carbon Footprint Through Offset Tree Planting

It’s never been easier to offset your carbon footprint. In fact, you can get started today. There are many organizations working to provide you with options to give back to the environment with carbon offset tree planting programs. Some even offer subscription services so that you can continue your support on a month to month basis.

By buying tree planting carbon offsets, you will be supporting the growth and renewal of forests across the world and increasing the carbon storage potential of the planet. Simply use a tree planting carbon offset calculator to figure up exactly how many trees to plant.


1Miller, E. (2020, 21 December). The Truth Behind Big, Beautiful Reforestation Initiatives . Retrieved from Sierra: <>

2Duncan, V. (2021, September 13). Buy Carbon Offsets In Seconds: Help Slow Climate Change Immediately (Do Your Part). Retrieved December 10, 2021, from 8BillionTrees: <>

3Murphy, J. (2021, September 2). 734 Trees: How Many You’d Have to Plant to Offset Your Carbon Footprint. Retrieved December 10, 2021, from 8BillionTrees: <>

4Zwick, Steve. Ecosystem Marketplace. 2022. On World Wetlands Day: The Allure And Elusiveness Of Mangroves As Carbon Sinks. 22 February 2022. Web. <>

5Community Carbon Trees. 2022. Tropical trees solution for climate change. 22 February 2022. Web. <>

6Jesse Allen. NASA. Retrieved from <>