The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to study carbon sequestration in trees and also carry out taxonomy studies on various tree species during the upcoming tree census.
Carbon sequestration is a process where trees absorb carbon dioxide (Co2) through photosynthesis and store it in the form of carbon in its trunk, leaves, branches and roots.
According to BMC officials, estimating the amount of Co2 absorbed by different species will help in planting those trees that will absorb more Co2, a greenhouse gas.
The carbon sequestration study will be done by the same company that will conduct the tree census. While the BMC is going to invite tenders for the tree census in a week, two independent taxonomists will verify the private company’s study.
“The quantum of carbon sequestration will be estimated using parameters such as height, age and biomass of the trees. With open spaces shrinking in the city, we need to adopt planned plantation that will help reduce pollution,” said Kamlashankar Yadav, superintendent, garden department.
The year-long census, that is carried out every five years, will use Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate trees and compile data on their height, girth and width. The previous census, which was conducted in 2008, stated that the city’s green cover had doubled from 9.5 lakh species in 1998 to approximately 19 lakh.
However, experts termed the carbon sequestration study as impractical and unproductive.
“Studies on carbon sequestration in trees have been very rare in the country. There is no specific formula and it is very difficult to arrive at an accurate measurement of carbon absorbed by various species,” said Marcelin Almeida, former professor of the botany department at St Xavier’s College.
“Such studies need to be carried out over a couple of years. Instead of vague studies, money should be spent on a proper census study,” added Almeida.
Vidyadhar Ogale, member of the BMC’s tree expert committee, said that such studies would have little tangible outcome on improving green cover. “Carbon sequestration studies should be carried out by scientists rather than people who will be entrusted the census work,” he said.