clear the air


Your Green Grass Could Save The World

Grass WITH new research showing that the world’s forests are absorbing less man-made carbon dioxide each year, two Australian scientists said some plants could store CO2 for thousands of years.

Grasses such as wheat and sorghum can store large amounts of carbon in microscopic balls of silica, called phytoliths, that form around a plant’s cells as they draw the mineral from the soil, a report in the latest issue of New Scientist says.

When a plant dies, the phytoliths, or plantstones, enter the soil and lock in the carbon for potentially thousands of years, said the Southern Cross University agricultural scientists Leigh Sullivan and Jeff Parr. The next step would be to see if plants that best store carbon in plantstones have higher or lower crop yields and quality.

Strains could be bred to better produce plantstones and farmers could potentially claim carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol, the report said.

The forestry industry is already heavily involved in carbon storage but storing carbon in plantstones could become more widespread because farmers could also still earn income by selling the crops for food, the report said. 

Simon Turner  simon@marquetteturner.com.au




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