The Right Mix of Trees
Reported May 2007
SYRACUSE, N.Y., (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) -- Global warming is a highly debated political issue these days. Many people wonder what one person can do to help. Planting trees can play a powerful role in cleaning up the local environment, but they're disappearing from cities across America.
Cities in the United States have lost more than 20 percent of their trees in 10 years. Richard Smardon, Ph.D., is an Environmental Planner at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York, attributes the disappearing trees to more construction around the country.
Dr. Smardon says one huge benefit of trees is that they store so much carbon, which is good for the environment. He explains, "The more carbon we store in the tree, the less goes into the atmosphere." Dr. Smardon and forester Allan Drew, Ph.D., have found the perfect mix of trees for Syracuse, New York, a combination that packs a hefty environmental punch. Dr. Drew says they are working on changing one city at a time. He told Ivanhoe, "We are making a conscious effort to produce communities that have better air quality and better health for the people that live there."
In a year-round venture, Dr. Smardon and Dr. Drew found 31 trees that are high performers in the region, like the sycamore. Their goal is to get people to protect and plant those trees in their neighborhoods, so everyone can make a change. Dr. Smardon says it's easy, "It's like using solar cells on your roof or driving a hybrid car. It's something the individual can do so they know they are making a difference."
Trees absorb and store greenhouse gases. A USDA study shows the trees in New York City alone remove 1,800 metric tons of air pollution from the local atmosphere. They provide shade, which also reduces how much energy we use.
The American Geophysical Union contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Dr. Richard Smardon, Environmental Studies
State University of New York
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