BSU Biology Professor: Save the world by planting trees

Australia is on fire. Temperatures are rising. Carbon emissions are increasing. What can just one person do that would be of any help?

Ball State biology professor David LeBlanc has an answer: To counter greenhouse gases that are blamed for climate change, he says, plant trees on your property, according to a university press release.

“Planting trees in Indiana and adjoining states is particularly appropriate because most of the Midwest was a massive old-growth forest prior to 1800 and the environment of Indiana is perfect for trees,” LeBlanc said.

European settlers decimated the forests, and now most of the state is agricultural fields that do little to reduce carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.

“By returning trees to the landscape we can start to take CO2 back out of the atmosphere and lock it up in woody stems, roots, and decay-resistant soil organic matter”, he said. “And the older we allow our trees to get, the greater the amount of CO2 is taken out of circulation.”

LeBlanc is a firm believer of having as many trees as possible on your property.

“I have 7 large trees in my front yard and during a hot summer day the temperature in my yard is 5 to 10 degrees cooler than in the neighbor’s tree-less yard,” he said. “In the winter, all my trees drop their leaves and allow the sun to shine in my windows and warm my home.

He added that in addition to these benefits, trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and add oxygen.

LeBlanc believes the best trees for the average homeowner include:

Large trees such as Maples, Tulip, Oak, Black gum, and River Birch and small trees such Dogwood and Redbud (both do well in the shade of big trees).

“One of my favorite quotes is ‘A society grows great when the elders plant trees under which they know they shall never sit,” he said.