The Contributions of the Pine Trees at Luneta Hill to the Immediate Environment By Michael A. Bengwayan
The Contributions of the Pine Trees at Luneta Hill to the Immediate Environment
By Michael A. Bengwayan
I am writing my research study on the mitigating effects of Ambuklao Dam and the Upper Agno River Basin. While looking at secondary data in the net, I was surprised to find out that every time you search a topic with the word “tree”, SM’s expensive and misleading advertisement appears where they are trying to convince people that their so-called proposed Garden in the Sky is the best alternative Baguio can have.
This is false and they are poorly advised by whoever experts they have. I have already explained why having a Garden in the sky negates all the CO2, O2 and water-related positive advantages of the 182 trees at Luneta Hill.
Let me go on a little bit more to educate our citizenry especially those in Baguio about the irreversible contributions of those trees and all trees for that matter.
The trees are important in Baguio for four direct and uncontested facts. First, the trees help directly and indirectly in affecting local and regional air quality by altering the urban atmospheric environment. The four main ways that these trees affect air quality are::
Temperature reduction and other microclimatic effects
Removal of air pollutants
Energy effects on buildings
Temperature Reduction: Tree transpiration and tree canopies affect air temperature, radiation absorption and heat storage, wind speed, relative humidity, turbulence, surface albedo, surface roughness and consequently the evolution of the mixing-layer height. These changes in local meteorology can alter pollution concentrations in urban areasb. Although trees usually contribute to cooler summer air temperatures, their presence can increase air temperatures in some instancesc. In areas with scattered tree canopies, radiation can reach and heat ground surfaces; at the same time, the canopy may reduce atmospheric mixing such that cooler air is prevented from reaching the area. In this case, tree shade and transpiration may not compensate for the increased air temperatures due to reduced mixingd. Maximum
mid-day air temperature reductions due to trees are in the range of 0.04oC to 0.2oC per percent canopy cover increasee. Below individual and small groups of trees over grass, mid-day air temperatures at 1.5 m above ground are 0.7oC to 1.3oC cooler than in an open areaf. Reduced air temperature due to trees can improve air quality because the emission of many pollutants and/or ozone-forming chemicals are
temperature dependent. Decreased air temperature can also reduce ozone formation.
It is not debatable any longer that trees cool the City of Pines and those remaining 133 trees are helping out.
Removal of Air Pollutants:Trees remove gaseous air pollution primarily by uptake via leaf stomata,though some gases are removed by the plant surface. Once inside the leaf, gases diffuse into intercellular spaces and may be absorbed by water films to form acids or react with inner-leaf surfacesg. Trees also remove pollution by intercepting airborne particles. Some particles can be absorbed into the tree,
though most particles that are intercepted are retained on the plant surface. The intercepted particle often is resuspended to the atmosphere, washed off by rain, or dropped to the ground with leaf and twig falls. Consequently, vegetation is only a temporary retention site for many atmospheric particles.
Energy Effects on Buildings: Trees reduce building energy use by lowering temperatures and shading buildings during the summer, and blocking winds during rainy season.
When building energy use is lowered, pollutant emissions from power plants are also lowered. While lower pollutant emissions generally improve air quality, lower nitrogen oxide emissions, particularly ground-level emissions, may lead to a local increase in ozone concentrations under certain conditions due to nitrogen oxide scavenging of ozones. The cumulative and interactive effects of trees on meteorology, pollution removal, and VOC and power plant emissions determine the overall impact of trees on air pollution.
These contributions of the trees cannot be underemphasized. There is nothing in the world that can replace them and their functions. I hope SM hears us and respects what Baguio wants.