Which emits more CO2, corn fields or home lawns?
More carbon dioxide is released from residential lawns than corn fields according to a new study. And much of the difference can likely be attributed to soil temperature. The data, from researchers at Elizabethtown College, suggest that urban heat islands may be working at smaller scales than previously thought.
These findings provide a better understanding of the changes that occur when agricultural lands undergo development and urbanization to support growing urban populations.
David Bowne, assistant professor of biology, led the study to look at the amount of carbon dioxide being released from residential lawns versus corn fields in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His co-author, Erin Johnson, was an undergraduate at the time of the study and did the work as part of her senior honors thesis. Their findings were published online today in Soil Science Society of America Journal.
For Bowne, the study allowed him to look beyond the obvious impact of losing agricultural fields to development -- the loss of food that was once produced on the land.
"That is a legitimate concern, but I wanted to look more at how this change could potentially impact the carbon cycle with the understanding that the carbon cycle has implications for global climate change," explains Bowne.
Red-haired teenaged boy mowing the lawn on a bright summer day via Shutterstock.
Read more at ScienceDaily.