Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Plants in cities are an underestimated carbon store

Date:
July 12, 2011
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Vegetation in towns and cities can make a significant contribution to carbon storage and, ecologists say, could lock away even more carbon if local authorities and gardeners planted and maintained more trees.

Vegetation in towns and cities can make a significant contribution to carbon storage and, ecologists say, could lock away even more carbon if local authorities and gardeners planted and maintained more trees. The study, published this week in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, is the first to quantify how much carbon is stored in vegetation within an urban area of Europe.

Using satellite data and information gathered by visiting local parks and gardens, the researchers surveyed vegetation across Leicester, including domestic gardens and council-owned parks, golf courses, abandoned industrial land, road verges and river banks.

They found 231,000 tonnes of carbon (C) locked up in Leicester's above-ground vegetation, equivalent to 3.16 kg C per square metre of the city, an order of magnitude greater than current national estimates. Most of this carbon pool is associated with trees.

According to lead author Dr Zoe Davies of the University of Kent: "Large trees are especially important carbon stores. Most of the publicly owned or managed land across Leicester is grassland. If just 10% of this were planted with trees, the existing carbon pool across the city could be increased by 12%."

"Trees, particularly large ones, should be protected and maintained and if more trees are planted in urban areas for their carbon storage value, they must be the right kind of tree planted in the right place so that they have a long, productive life span, and when trees die they should be replaced," she says.

The data -- which until now were lacking -- are particularly important because local government will play a key part in helping the UK government meet its target of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, from 1990 levels, by 2050.

According to Dr Davies: "Currently, once land in the UK is considered to be urban its biological carbon density is assumed to be zero. Our study illustrates this is not the case and that there is a substantial pool of carbon locked away in the vegetation within a city -- another reason why urban trees and greenspaces should be valued."

"Although it is not a panacea for emissions reduction, our results demonstrate the potential benefits of accounting for, mapping and appropriately managing above-ground vegetation carbon stores, even within a typical densely urbanised European city," Dr Davies says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zoe G. Davies, Jill L. Edmondson, Andreas Heinemeyer, Jonathan R. Leake, Kevin J. Gaston. Mapping an urban ecosystem service: quantifying above-ground carbon storage at a city-wide scale. Journal of Applied Ecology, 2011; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02021.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Plants in cities are an underestimated carbon store." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711195017.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2011, July 12). Plants in cities are an underestimated carbon store. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711195017.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Plants in cities are an underestimated carbon store." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110711195017.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

New Pictures of Ship That Sank in 1888

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) Federal researchers have released new images of the City of Chester, a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888. Researchers recently found the shipwreck while mapping shipping routes. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Risk of Asteroid Hitting Earth Higher Than Thought, Study Shows

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 23, 2014) A group of space explorers say the chance of a city-obliterating asteroid striking Earth is higher than scientists previously believed. Deborah Gembara reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins