The World Tree Carbon Offset Program is made possible by the unique qualities of the Empress Tree. The World’s fastest growing hardwood, it reaches maturity in less than 10 years, eating up tonnes of carbon in the process.
The Empress Splendor Tree
The key to our carbon offset program is the Empress Splendor tree. This is the fastest growing hardwood tree in the world (Guinness Book of World Records) reaching maturity in just 10 years.
The Empress is a member of the Paulownia family, a sacred tree of the orient, long revered for its fast growth and quality wood. In Japan it is the emblem of the prime minister.
The Paulownia is native to North America but is not as well known here. The Empress Splendor is a non-invasive, hybrid species, that can grow in most the United States and Canada where it’s primary use is lumber.
Empress Splendor trees are not genetically modified, but are bred using conventional methods used by farmers for thousands of years. They do not respond well to chemical products, preferring instead organic farming methods and the use of natural fertilizers such as chicken manure.
The Empress tree is ‘wet’ wood which makes it naturally fire and insect resistant.
Empress Splendor trees absorb more carbon dioxide than any other tree. Planting 22 trees will offset the carbon emissions of an average north american for 50 years.
From Planting to Harvest in 10 Years
World Tree only works with qualified farmers who already have experience successfully growing Empress Trees. Empress trees grow best in places with summer temperatures of 70°F (21°C) and above for at least 5-6 months a year and an altitude of less than 2,200 feet.
The trees typically grow 10-20 feet in the first year and reach maturity in 10 years. The trees are naturally resistant to fire and insects so are extremely hardy. None the less, World Tree insures all the trees so that your investment is protected.
After 10 years World Tree harvests the trees and sells the lumber. One of the amazing properties of the tree is that it regrows from the root very quickly after harvesting and will regrow itself up to 7 times after being cut down.
A Beautiful, Useful Hardwood
The Empress Splendor produces a light, straight-grained lumber that is silky to the touch. It has an exceptional strength to weight ratio with lumber that is 30% stronger than pine.
Empress wood is very light, strong and water resistant when dry. This combination of strength, light-weight and water resistance makes it the ideal wood for building boats and surfboards. Paulownia wood is becoming every more popular with surfers looking for an environmentally friendly alternative to fibre-glass boards.
Empress wood is also used for the production of musical instruments, furniture, windows, doors and crown moulding. It can be peeled for veneer in 1/32 inch thickness and the Chinese use the veneer as paper.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do the trees grow?
Empress trees grow in western Canada and the United states. They grow best in places with summer temperatures of 70°F (21°C) and above for at least 5-6 months a year and an altitude of less than 2,200 feet.
The warmer the temperatures, the faster the growth. World Tree farmers can be found in Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Ohio, British Columbia and Costa Rica.
Is this tree invasive?
The short answer is: No, the Empress Splendor tree is not invasive.
The Empress Splendor tree belongs to the genus Paulownia. There are many different species of Paulownia and there is only one that is classified as invasive, the Paulownia tomentosa (http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/printree.shtml). We do not use this variety, choosing instead non-invasive species such as the Paulownia fortuneii.
The Rainforest Alliance has chosen Paulownia as an an ecologically sound tree for the purposes of eforestation and carbon sequestration (http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/business/climate/validation-verification/projects/paulownia). The Rainforest alliance is internationally recognized as a certification program for sustainable forestry and best practices for tree planting and agroforestry.
Are the trees genetically modified?
No, our trees are not genetically modified (GMO).
GMO refers to an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. These sometimes contain genes from totally unrelated species, such as salmon genes in tomatoes developed to have frost resistance and this raises concerns that as such an organism could not possibly develop naturally we don’t know the long term effects.
Our Paulownia trees are bred using conventional methods as used by farmers for thousands of years, i.e. we cross pollinate different lines of the same genus (Paulownia) and then grow the seedlings out, selecting the best and then propagate only from those best trees to develop new varieties.
We do not splice in genes from outside the Paulownia genus. There is no unrelated genetic material whether plant or animal included in the genome of our trees.
Are the trees organically grown?
Our program attracts many organic farmers because Empress Splendor trees don’t respond well to chemical products and prefer natural fertilizers and pest control. For example, they love chicken manure!!
Why haven't I heard of this tree before?
The Empress tree is indigenous to North America, however it almost died out during the ice ages.
The tree does not grow well from seed, it is best grown from the roots and it’s only recently that North Americans have taken an interest in growing the tree.
The World Tree Carbon Offset Program
Investing in a sustainable future
If you are interested in participating in the Carbon Offset Program please get in touch. We’ll get back to you right away.