One leading theory for moving carbon out of the atmosphere involves getting more of it into soils and stabilized in the form of calcium carbonate. To do that, media in urban spaces like brown fields or transportation corridors c
ould be highly engineered to facilitate carbonation. The problem is, soil amendments to do the job mean that plants end up in media with virtually no nutrients. Can they take it? Even better, under those circumstances, do some plants facilitate carbon storage?
Mark Goddard, Newcastle University (UK), is screening 25 different grasses, trees and perennials to find out. The 18-month experiment began last spring in pots filled with crushed concrete and dolerite quarry fines, both of which facilitate soil carbon storage. Media samples from the experiment are being collected two times to look at carbon storage. The team’s ultimate goal is to be able to recommend “designer plant communities as part of ‘carbon capture gardens’ in new urban developments or construction projects.” This experiment is part of a larger program to study how to store carbon in soils: Sustainable Urban Carbon Capture: Engineering Soils for Climate Change (SUCCESS).
Mark’s piece about SUCCESS and how plants fit into the overall scheme appeared on The Nature of Cities earlier this month in Carbon Capture Gardens: A Nature-Based Solution for Managing Urban Brownfield Soils for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.
NewTerrain February 15, 2016