Discovery: UNT Finds Oak Trees Scrub Black Carbon From Atmosphere

Two oak tree species common across the southern U.S. remove black carbon from the urban atmosphere, according to a discovery by researchers at the University of North Texas.

Their findings may a possible natural way to improve air quality and climate, UNT said in a release.


Alexandra Ponette-González, principal investigator and associate professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment, led the study alongside graduate student Jenna Rindy. Collaborators included their colleagues at the University of North Texas, Baylor University, and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies.

Black carbon is often called ‘soot’ in urban areas. UNT said it’s released into the atmosphere as a result of fossil fuels, biofuel, and biomass burning and is the second most important agent contributing to climate change.

When inhaled, black carbon may lead to respiratory and cardiovascular problems and is one of the most harmful components of fine particulate matter, UNT said.

The work was was conducted in Denton, where researchers measured the amount of black carbon particles captured by post oak and live oak trees, as well as the how much black carbon transported is to the ground when leaves fall, UNT said.

Source: Dallas Innovates