Innovation That Matters

Leaf & Limb hopes that Project Pando will act as an open-source blueprint that can be replicated by anybody nearly anywhere for minimal costs. | Photo source Leaf & Limb

The arborists who don’t cut down trees


A tree-care company is focusing on what it can do to help not just a few trees, but the entire planet

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Spotted: The arborists at Leaf & Limb have a unique approach to tree-care: not only do they avoid cutting down trees unless absolutely necessary, but they use the offcuts to produce biochar, an ancient form of charcoal that could help fight global warming. Leaf & Limb are also the first US tree service to be certified as a B Corporation, meaning that the company has passed strict criteria for environmental practices, community relationships, and working conditions. 

Leaf & Limb’s environmental practices include looking after not just the trees, but the soil they are growing in as well. Their philosophy includes the belief that the best defense against problems like pest attacks is to make sure the plants are in excellent health to begin with. So, they avoid the use of chemicals and other harmful practices and instead promote natural remedies such as releasing predatory insects to kill unwanted pests. 

While they will only cut down trees that are dead or invasive, Leaf & Limb do of course trim branches. Recently, they have started using these trimmings to generate biochar, a stable form of charcoal created by heating organic materials in an oxygen-starved environment through a process called pyrolysis. The material is then “charged” with organic nutrients and used to feed the trees and soil.

Basil Camu, the company’s Chief Vision Officer, has described the company’s philosophy as focused on helping not just trees, but the entire ecosystem, saying, “My hope for the tree service industry, and adjacent industries such as landscaping and nurseries, is that we can become caretakers of this planet instead of what we are today…Our profit models are built on the degradation of our planet. By adopting new models that heal our landscapes we can flip the script: we can make money by healing the planet instead of harming it.” 

Although perhaps not as sexy as new tech, planting more trees, and keeping them healthy, is one way to help mitigate some of the effects of climate change. This may be why we are seeing increasing numbers of innovations aimed at saving trees, such as sustainable wood replacements and art that encourages people to be more in tune with the secret life of trees

Written By: Lisa Magloff

Explore more: Agriculture and Energy | Sustainability



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