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Reducing carbon emissions is a corporate commitment.  Removing carbon emissions is about growing trees at scale.  Plant trees, and you plant hope.

Featured Article

Trees: Nature's Technology to Tackle Climate Change

Article by Chandler Van Voorhis

Photography by Rob Banner

Originally published in Leesburg Lifestyle

Listen up, Loudoun landowners. Rejoining the Paris Accord has far-reaching implications for you, especially if your land has room for more trees! According to World Resource Institute (WRI), every Paris Accord model for reducing global warming relies on massively scaling up carbon removal with natural climate solutions. That translates to planting more trees -- a lot of them -- while at the same time earning money from carbon producers in exchange. 

Carbon removal is the process of taking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere and storing it. Carbon removal is distinctly different from carbon reduction. Simply, a carbon reduction is about being "less bad" for the environment like switching from coal to gas or from gas to wind/solar. Each move to a lower-emitting technology represents a reduction of emissions.

Carbon removal, on the other hand, is about repairing the past. There are two primary ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. The first is through biological systems, and the second is mechanical. Mechanical solutions are neither scalable or cheap. So, the whole world is looking at how to scale up the biological approaches like afforestation, reforestation, agriculture, and grassland restoration.

For us, that means thinking of trees as a technology -- Mother Nature's technology. The former Chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, Jim Rogers, once told me, "there are two forms of intellection property -- technological and how you get to scale. Most technologies fail on how you get to scale." With Mother Nature, scale is everywhere! But what's needed is a way of encouraging people efficiently and effectively to restore lands. Think of it as harnessing and mimicking the genius of nature. 

Two important developments have turned trees into a different kind of cash crop. First, at Davos, the former head of the Bank of England, released a report entitled, Scaling Up The Voluntary Markets ( This report represented a consensus of major banks, companies, and market participants must scale up natural climate solutions by a factor of 15 by 2030 and by a factor of 100 by 2050. More than 1000 companies have pledged to be carbon neutral by then. The report calls for 7 billion tons of carbon reduction to be produced from natural climate solutions by 2030, and that puts a price on carbon to these companies, equivalent to greater than the amount they generate in their businesses.

The second key development was Microsoft's Carbon Removal Announcement ( In this plan, Microsoft illustrates how much effort it will take to become carbon negative by 2030. Microsoft has decided not only to invest heavily in renewables and efficiencies to lower its carbon impact, but to scale up its investments in natural climate solutions. This is where nature and carbon removal comes in. 

Again, think of trees as a technology. As trees grow, they take in carbon dioxide, store the carbon, and release oxygen. Trees purify the air, clean water, produce oxygen, and provide habitat to many species. Recognizing the importance of nature, Microsoft's commitment to be carbon negative by 2030 includes eliminating all the emissions the company has ever put into the atmosphere since its founding in 1975. The only way to achieve the company's goal is to scale-up nature while it invests in a greener future through renewables.

Our company GreenTrees ( is contributing to Microsoft's natural solution by providing a substantial part of their 1m tons of carbon removal. The nearly 600 landowners who participate in our ACRE Investment Management, LLC are the beneficiary. As their trees grow, they earn money from the annual year over year growth, paid to them by carbon producers. 

Microsoft's leadership is drawing other businesses into the fight to address climate change, and they need landowners to join the fight. We view landowners as first responders to climate change. Every land-use decision can have a profound impact on how humanity tackles this issue together, and can make Loudoun County and our region a lynchpin for positive change. Reach out and learn how. 

Chandler Van Voorhis is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of ACRE Investment Management (, recipient of the 2002 ChevronTexaco Conservation Award, and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. 

  • Reducing carbon emissions is a corporate commitment.  Removing carbon emissions is about growing trees at scale.  Plant trees, and you plant hope.
  • Chandler Van Voorhis