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  • Writer's pictureHeather Ranson

The Climate Needs Parks

Everybody know that plants clean our air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, but did you know that plants in parks provide three other important services to communities? According to the National Parks and Recreation Association, and backed by significant scientific research, the trees on our streets and in our parks provide air temperature reduction,. air pollution reduction, and climate change reduction as well.

The shade from trees keeps the air in a treed area cooler. This is especially noticeable in cities or other heavily paved areas. A downtown with asphalt parking lots and cement buildings absorbs and reflects heat, trapping it and creating greater heat, whereas treed areas, with shade and respiration from greenery can be up to seven degrees cooler.

Plants, especially trees are also effective at removing pollution from the air. Air pollution can contribute to respiratory conditions such as asthma, heart disease and emphysema. Air pollution also damages plants and contributes to acid rain. By lowering air temperature, trees also lower emissions of pollutants. Leaves on trees absorb gas and intercept particulate matter. Experts estimate that one acre of tree cover will remove about 80 pounds of air pollution.

Trees , shrubs and grasses are carbon storage tanks. In a one acre park, covered with trees, around 40 tons of carbon will be stored per year. In addition those trees will remove 1.2 tons of carbon per year. Plants are also great water absorbers. In areas of great rainfall, plants provide a means of securing soil so it does not wash away or create a land slide, and preventing flooding by absorbing water through roots.

With continuing development, it is important to protect the natural spaces that benefit our lives. Even if we don’t visit parks, we benefit from their cooling, cleaning and absorbing services.

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