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Plants in public parks more efficient at trapping carbon

06 October 17 - RE+D Magazine
Plants in public parks more efficient at trapping carbon

COMPANIES

IBI Group

Consultant - GREECE

ΕΡΡΙΚΟΣ ΑΡΩΝΕΣ

Investment - GREECE

PEOPLE

Antulio Richetta

Director IBI Group
Plants in parks significantly outperform those planted at the side of roads when it comes to sequestering carbon and improving urban air quality, according to a study carried out at the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) for a postgraduate thesis.

 

Based on its findings, the trees in the three parks studied absorbed more than 319 tonnes of carbon in a year. The study used the GreenTree software developed for a research programme using cybernetics to manage urban forest and assist cities in adapting to climate change, currently being implemented by the Thessaloniki municipality.

"The trees in parks, because they are not aggressively pruned like those on roadways, have a rich crown of leaves that allows them to sequester more carbon. For this reason it is necessary to increase parks and, of course, to create a large metropolitan park in Thessaloniki," said Professor Thekla Tsitsoni, who heads up the programme.

Using the GreenTree software, city authorities created a digital registry of the trees in three Thessaloniki parks, finding a total of 661 trees belonging to 53 different species, of which 638 were still alive and trapped over 319 tonnes of carbon a year.

The survey showed that more than half the trees were exotic as opposed to the native species recommended by experts. Native species are better adapted to prevailing climate and soil conditions, as well as being more resistant to diseases and other insults.

The system also found that the park trees were significantly more efficient at trapping carbon, since the roughly 38,000 trees lining Thessaloniki's roads trapped just 6000 tonnes of carbon in a year.

This was a result of both the greater height of park trees, since taller trees sequester more carbon, but also the better health of trees in parks and the absence of pruning.

The scientists' recommendations for the three parks studied in the Thessaloniki area include the use of native species, better care of the trees and the replacement of dead or dying individuals to increase the tree population.

They also recommend a tree registry for all the city's parks, since the registry has proved an effective tool for managing tree stocks.

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