October 1, 2008

Trees Squelch Bad Odors

New research shows that trees can reduce emissions of dust, ammonia, and odors near poultry farms. In some cases, the emissions were cut by almost half.

The study was presented at the 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

The report suggests that planting vegetation could reduce ammonia and particulates that degrade air and water quality. Research began in 2000, when residents near poultry farms in Maryland and Virginia complained about nasty odors from chicken houses. The research lead, Dr. George W. Malone of the University of Delaware said "We were aware of the concerns locally. We looked at what we could do to address them and the whole area of air quality as it relates to the emission of ammonia from poultry houses."

Researchers proposed planting trees to serve as a filter. In this six-year study, Malone found that a three-row plot of trees of various species and sizes reduced total dust by 56%, ammonia 53%, and odor 18%.

Not all trees function the same. In the Delaware area, Malone recommends the first row of trees be either a deciduous tree or one with a waxy leaf, and the other two rows be an evergreen.

The trees also improve water quality around farms because they can filter pollutants from soil and groundwater.

American Chemical Society (2008, August 22). Trees Kill Odors And Other Emissions From Poultry Farms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2008/08/080820163010.htm

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