Hemp is a versatile plant when you consider how many products it can become once harvested. But, it turns out the plant is actually pretty important as it grows in the ground too. Not only can hemp become fiber, feed, building materials, edibles, and more, it can also play a significant role in saving our environment when it comes to carbon dioxide.
According to one researcher out of the University of Cambridge, hemp crops are amazing carbon traps. This tiny plant is better at trapping atmospheric carbon than a forest of trees, they say.
This is significant since carbon dioxide is one of the most damaging compounds found in our atmosphere today. Its negative effects are the reason we’re now seeing electric cars and alternative fuels. It’s also more common for companies to talk of going carbon neutral in the future.
Numerous studies, according to Darsil Shah, a senior researcher at the Centre for Natural Material Innovation at Cambridge, are all in agreement. Industrialized hemp is “one of the best” plants for taking carbon out of the atmosphere and trapping it forever.
Carbon absorption by the numbers
Saying hemp is a better carbon trap than a whole forest of trees is one thing, but the actual data proves it.
According to Shah, industrial hemp absorbs between 3,000-6,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide per acre. Forests average between 800-2,400 kilograms per acre, significantly less.
Since offsetting carbon by reforestation is such a major project throughout the world, this information could change the game. The strategies of non-profits and environmental groups everywhere could look to hemp. Maybe it is the greenery that could “save the world.”
Winning the race to cleaner air
Another hemp fact that makes the plant a stronger contender as a natural carbon trap is the speed at which it grows.
Trees do their best at sequestering carbon dioxide when they reach maturity. This can take anywhere from 10-30 years based on how fast the tree grows and the climate it grows in. If starting a forest from saplings, that’s a long time to wait for the trees to do their job.
Hemp, on the other hand, grows much faster. An entire crop goes from seed to maturity in as little as 3-5 months. At that rate, even growing one crop per year would play a significant role in taking carbon out of the atmosphere for good. And, once it’s in the plants, that’s where it stays. Even after harvest, that carbon is never coming back.
Growing outdoors is key
For all this amazing work hemp can do, the secret is to grow the plants outside. They have to be in the open air to take the carbon dioxide out.
The plants may become less environmentally friendly when grown indoors. Not only are they not pulling carbon out of the atmosphere while sitting inside, or even in a greenhouse, but they’re using energy too. It takes a lot to run all the equipment that regulates light, temperature, and humidity when growing indoors. This can actually have an adverse effect on the environment.
To avoid releasing more dangerous compounds into the air, let hemp do its job outside. Not only will you end up with a lucrative crop you can transform into in-demand products for consumers, but you’ll know your little cash plant is also helping the environment as well.
Plant a successful crop with the help of Arbor Vita8
If you’re new to planting hemp, or are taking your crop outside for the first time, Arbor Vita8 has an extensive collection of resources to help you get started. Our experienced team and seed-to-sale array of services means we’re with you every step of the way. We offer the right support and tools to enable you to get the most out of your hemp. From selecting the right genetics to perform in your growing conditions to mobile drying and a superior processing facility, you’re covered. Contact us today to learn more and check out our online resources here.