En EspaÑol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Roadside plants as absorbers of carbon dioxide

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - February 13, 2007

From: Propsect Park, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Managing Roadsides
Title: Roadside plants as absorbers of carbon dioxide
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

If plants absorb carbon dioxide why aren't they on a list of things to do to combat Global Warming? If we had more plants on the sides of our roads and highways would it help?

ANSWER:

In the normal cycle of life, plants absorb and store carbon dioxide while growing and release it back into the atmosphere during the decaying process after death. Research has long shown that forests are important "sinks" for carbon dioxide; that is, they store large amounts of the gas due to their large size and long lives. More recent research has indicated that grasslands may also be important carbon dioxide sinks.

Other than in some desert areas, most roadsides are well-populated with plants - primarily grasses - that certainly use and store significant amounts of CO2. The roads themselves and other developed areas are a separate issue, but in general, US roadsides are probably already absorbing about as much CO2 as they can. Large-scale foresting of our roadsides probably wouldn't be a practical solution for reasons ofpublic safety.

 

More Managing Roadsides Questions

Information on wildflower programs in cities and states
April 06, 2005 - I am moving to a new town in a few weeks and am interested in starting a program to beautify the community using wildflowers. I've been interested in this for quite some time, but the opportunity ha...
view the full question and answer

Can a fallen tree in Texas have pieces of it removed from Winona TX
October 20, 2012 - I was wondering if you could tell me if a tree has fallen down, is it legal for me to go and cut pieces off of it in the state of Texas. And if you happen not to know could you tell me who I would con...
view the full question and answer

Identification of Monarda citriodora on roadsides
June 19, 2007 - What is the name of the lavender wildflower so prevalent right now throughout the Texas hill country? It's an upright stalk that has lighter and darker lavender petals with rows of green leaves sepa...
view the full question and answer

Moving plants for extreme drought from Greencastle IN
August 23, 2012 - In exceptional drought here in Indiana, I am looking at weeds that may become my next perennials! How do I move what my dad called ragged robins from the edges of roads. They are blue and could be wil...
view the full question and answer

Managing Roadsides
March 20, 2004 - I’d like to plant some wildflowers as part of a community or roadside project. Will you provide the seeds or grant money?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center