Magazine article USA TODAY

Trees Can Slow the Greenhouse Effect

Magazine article USA TODAY

Trees Can Slow the Greenhouse Effect

Article excerpt

The practice of agroforestry--growing trees and agricultural crops on the same land--will slow the "greenhouse effect" that threatens the Earth, according to University of Missouri-Columbia scientists. "The average tree absorbs about 13 pounds of carbon and carbon dioxide per year. Just an acre's worth of agroforestry plantings, using a 10' by 40' tree spacing, would tie up 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide over the life of those trees," explains Bruce Cutter, a forestry researcher. "Then, if these trees were made into useful, permanent products, the bulk of the carbon dioxide in these trees would be unavailable to contribute to global warming and its possible consequences."

Scientists in Missouri and Arkansas are collaborating on a long-term initiative to help develop more profitable agroforestry practices. Gene Garrett, the project director, predicts the effort could have worldwide impact. "If agroforestry could be implemented on at least part of the land now being clear-cut and burned in some areas of the world, the advantages to the environment would be terrific. Agroforestry would give a farmer-landowner a good, continuous income while he or she is contributing to the long-term stabilization of global change. …

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