While natural forests have greater biodiversity than urban forests, the urban versions are not to be ignored when assessing their value as a carbon sink. As such they have equal to or greater value than wild counterparts.

A tree in Highgate Cemetery, as seen using LiDAR. The cemetery is rich with old trees, and LiDAR has revealed just how much carbon they are storing. University College London. City-dwellers usually think of their impact on the global climate in terms of energy consumed or products bought. They may, however, be underestimating the importance of something right outside their doors. The parklands of London store nearly as much carbon as tropical rainforests, making urban forests a much-overlooked frontline in the fight against global warming. Street trees and parks remove an astonishing amount of pollutants from the atmosphere, improving the health of the urban residents. They also cool the local environment , causing people to go easier on their air conditioners, and make an important contribution to city-dwellers’ psychological health. Still, the comparison with mighty old-growth forests comes as a surprise. A typical tropical rainforest holds 190 tonnes of carbon per hectare (85 tons per acre). As these are trashed to make way for cattle ranches or palm plantations , most of this carbon is released into the atmosphere, amounting to an estimated 15 percent of human-induced global warming. Hampstead Heath, a large park in London, stores 178 t/ha. […]


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