Barking up the wrong tree
If you are concerned about global warning or the fact that you haven’t reached carbon neutrality, you may have been advised to plant a tree. After all, trees help soak up greenhouse gases and clean the air. But just planting any old tree – or many trees of the same type – may actually contribute ...
If you are concerned about global warning or the fact that you haven't reached carbon neutrality, you may have been advised to plant a tree. After all, trees help soak up greenhouse gases and clean the air. But just planting any old tree - or many trees of the same type - may actually contribute to air pollution by putting large amounts of hazardous organic compounds into the atmosphere.
The question has led researchers at the State University of New York in Syracuse to look into just what makes an effective urban forest. They’ve found that by planting different types of trees – and they’ve come up with a list of 31 types that are good at sucking up carbon and not guilty of releasing harmful compounds – the efficiency of forests goes up. It seems like a no-brainer, if far from a magic bullet to combat global warming. So, before you take a page out of Coldplay’s book and go off planting 10,000 mango trees to offset your carbon contribution (the band’s trees soon died in the arid Indian soil in which they were planted, by the way), remember that not all trees may contribute to your noble goal.
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