by EG McPherson, A Kendall

International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 19:1653-1665


This study addressed the question of whether Los Angeles’ plan to plant 1 million trees would result in a net reduction in atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHG). A life-cycle GHG assessment of the project was developed based on surveys, interviews, field data, and estimates of growth and survival. More than 90,000 trees were modeled, and based on an expected survival rate of only 34%, the project was estimated to result in a net carbon source. However, when potential GHG benefits from energy conservation were included, the project became an overall carbon sink. The largest source of emissions was decomposition of mulch from dead trees. Suggestions for increasing the net benefit are provided.

Region: Los Angeles, California
Publication Type: Journal article
Keywords: arboriculture, field study, greenhouse gases, life-cycle analysis, Los Angeles, surveys and interviews, tree planting initiative, and urban forestry