Why do cypress trees absorb so much pollution?



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    Trees that best absorb and store CO2 (a process known as sequestration) are typically those that grow quickly and live long lives. Because those two attributes are almost always mutually exclusive, foresters generally favor younger trees because they grow much more quickly than their older cohorts. However, this does not mean that they do the best job of storing CO2–slower growing trees tend to live longer lives, and because of this, are able to store much more CO2 over time. A 1 year old fast growing cypress (conifer) is able to sequester 2.2 lbs of carbon/tree/year; a 50 year old fast growing cypress is able to sequester 106.3 lbs carbon/tree/year. Though this is a good amount (any amount helps!), it is not the best tree for absorbing and storing CO2 pollution. A 1 year old hardwood can store and absorb almost double the amount of carbon/tree/year, and a 50 year old hardwood can sequester approximately 16 kg more a year than an equivalent cypress. However, Cypress are known for their resistance to decay, so that may help them to live longer lives and therefore, absorb and store more carbon.

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