4 thoughts on “Study: Lawns emit more CO2 than corn fields; Add to urban heat island effect”

  1. Scott,
    Then the natural decomposition of organic materials emit C02 and old growth forests give off C02 and in the case of evergreens even acidify the soils and the water in streams and lakes – maybe we should cut down all old forests so young plants like grasses and fast growing bushes can shade the ground and the new trees can remove more C02?

    End GRANT SCIENCE . . circle logic is what they bring to the debate.

  2. I just read the press release, not the whole paper, so they may actually provide an explanation in the paper.

    Here’s my guess about your point.

    As for the higher CO2 levels, they seem to try to lay the blame for that on the higher average temperature of a lawn ( which they blame on UHI). But, your average lawn (if cut regularly) will have a lot more decomposing organic matter at any given time than your average corn field. This decomposition will both emit CO2 and raise the temperature of the soil. I don’t know if they account for any of that in the study.

    Another thing that would affect both measured CO2 levels and soil temperature is the amount of airflow passing over the ground. The source of the shade from corn is a few feet in the air, but the source of the shade for grass is just a few inches in the air. Corn also tends to be planted in rows with a decent amount of empty space between. Grass grows randomly. So, there’s more room for airflow to cool the ground in a corn field. Again, I don’t know if they account for any of this in the study.

  3. So, if I stop tending the lawn and let it revert to central Virginia grass/woodland can I tell my Homeowners Association that I’m doing it to combat global warming?

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