By Cameron Chai
Plants grown in cities and towns have a great role in storing carbon says a new research that appeared in the Journal of Applied Ecology published by the British Ecological Society. The study conducted by Dr Zoe Davies of the University of Kent is the first to measure the levels of carbon storage in vegetations within various city limits in Europe.
The researcher utilized the information collected by personal visits to various gardens and parks, which includes river banks, road verges, deserted industrial land, golf courses, parks owned by the city council and domestic gardens along with the collected satellite data for the research. The research established that around 231,000 tons of carbon was stored in above the ground plants in Leicester, which can be equated to 3.16 kg of carbon/ m2 area of the city.
The analyzed quantity surpasses the present national level estimation and most of the carbon collection is linked up the trees. The research also found that planting of large trees over just 10% of the publicly owned grass land areas in Leicester alone will increase the carbon pool of the city by 12%. The study also disproves the present method of assuming biological carbon density as zero in urban localities and demonstrates that still substantial quantity of carbon is locked in the vegetation grown within the city.
Dr. Davis also cautioned that growing of more trees within the city limits need not be considered as a total remedy for reduction in emissions levels. She added that research only proves how rightly managed plants that are grown above the ground store increased levels of carbon even in thickly populated cities in Europe.
The study is the result of a joint research titled, 4M: An Evidence Based Methodology for Understanding and Shrinking the Urban Carbon Footprint”, performed by the University of Exeter, University of Sheffield, Newcastle University, De Montfort University, and Loughborough University. The study received a funding of £2.5m from EPSRC.