View Full Version : Deciduous trees have decidedly beneficial impact on air pollution

10-22-2010, 11:36 AM
Deciduous trees have decidedly beneficial impact on air pollution

By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

Posted: 10/22/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated: 10/22/2010 01:15:20 AM MDT

Officials in Denver embarked on a mission in 2006 to plant 1 million trees in the city by 2025. Trees, such as these in Civic Center, are helping scrub away some pollution a phenomenon underscored by scientific research published this week.

Trees may be pulling their weight.

New research by government-backed scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research finds that deciduous vegetation absorbs one-third more air pollution than previously believed tens of millions of metric tons worldwide.

The NCAR scientists, measuring air chemistry from Amazonia to Arizona, focused on some of the most pernicious pollutants the so-called volatile organic compounds that people emit from vehicles, lawnmowers and coal power plants. These are abundant pollutants that, when mixed with sunlight and nitrogen oxide, form the ozone in smog hanging over cities such as Denver.

"Plant more trees, as long as they are the right trees," said NCAR physicist Thomas Karl, whose Boulder-based team's peer-reviewed report was published this week in the academic journal Science Express. "This will help reduce the levels of air toxics."

The right trees include ash, apple, birch, hawthorn, hackberry, maple, pear and peach.

Wrong: poplar, eucalyptus and oak, NCAR scientists say. These species, NCAR scientists say, emit more volatile organic compounds than they absorb.

Scientists long have believed that plants absorb the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. The new research showing they consume huge quantities of organic compounds raises new possibilities for Denver where city officials in 2006 embarked on a mission to plant 1 million trees by 2025 and other cities facing tighter federal air-quality standards.

Federal environmental regulators have deemed Denver out of compliance for ozone. This week, Regional Air Quality Council members were brainstorming strategies for reducing volatile organic compound pollution, including land-use controls and fuel pricing and use of roadways and parking.

"Of course, we would love it if there was something that could suck up all the air pollution," air-quality council spokeswoman Sarah Anderson said.

I am pro-tree. :)

Read more: Deciduous trees have decidedly beneficial impact on air pollution - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_16402656#ixzz136A37BrE

10-22-2010, 11:39 AM
But deer love acorns. Oak trees are win.