by EG McPherson, A Kendall, S Albers
Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 14(2):388-3972015
Trees reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels, but the tools and procedures used to care for them also release GHGs into the atmosphere. Here, a variety of different arboriculture practices were compared in a life-cycle assessment of the California sycamore (Platanus racemosa). Different intensities of equipment use, irrigation, and the ultimate fate of the wood residue were considered. In the highest emissions scenario, emissions exceeded sequestered GHG; in the lowest emissions scenario, GHG emissions reduced the sequestered benefit by about 50%. The greatest improvements in net benefit for Los Angeles could be found through careful species choice, improved irrigation management, and the use of wood residue for durable products rather than mulch or bioenergy. Equipment emissions were a relatively small burden (6% of total benefit).