Measuring Carbon in a Tree

Trees absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen (O2).

As part of this process the tree stores carbon in its roots, trunk, branches, and leaves.

This means that big, old trees store the most carbon, but all vegetation (including shrubs and grasses) has absorbed carbon dioxide. Newly planted trees tend to grow quickly and will sequester (absorb) carbon quicker than an older, more mature tree. 

And approximately measuring carbon in a tree just might be easier that we thought!


Carbon Calculator

Carbon Calculator - opens up in new window

This Carbon Calculator will measure the approximate carbon sequestered (absorbed) in a tree and how much carbon dioxide the tree has sequestered to date.

You can keep measuring the same tree, it has been suggested every 3 months, to see how quickly it sequesters carbon dioxide. Make sure you keep a record of your tree measurements and try comparing the result with your own car use, for example.


Tree Tape

Check out this clever measuring device - the tree tape. This tape translates the amount of CO2 absorbed in the tree into the amount produced during different activities, rather than into grams of CO2; eg. 1 hour on a flight or 2 days of breathing.

Tree Tape measure-  measure up to find out more!


Two of the greatest sources of carbon dioxide are cars; and the use of electricity which has been generated by burning fossil fuels. For example, a medium-sized petrol car driven for 13,000 km per year (Australian average) emits over 7 tons of CO2. A medium-sized London Plane Tree in North Sydney stores 1.236 kg of carbon... which means it absorbed just over two months worth of the emissions from one car. 

Check out the many values tree bring to our lives here.

Read more: Climate Change and the natural environment in North Sydney



It would be great to receive feedback on your carbon measures and on using the Carbon Calculator... please email:

The Carbon Calculator has been built using the allometrics work of Dr Derek Eamus at the University of Technology Sydney and his academic colleagues. The scientific papers utilised to build the calculator have been listed below the Carbon Calculator.

We would like to say thank you to Nitipak Samsen for developing the tree tape.