Mangoes sweet for environment too, says study

The first-of-its-kind study in the country collated carbon pool data (soil carbon stocks, litter, and weed biomass carbon) and data on absorption of CO2 by mango orchards in India.
Image for representational purpose only.
Image for representational purpose only.

HYDERABAD: Telangana’s mango orchards have absorbed around 24.2 million tonnes (mt) of carbon dioxide (CO2), equivalent to CO2 emissions from almost nine coal-fuelled power plants annually, in the last 25 years, revealed a recent study. Scientists say as forest are disappearing due to rampant urbanisation, the State should plant more such mango orchards to tackle CO2 emissions.

CO2, which is emitted by vehicles, power plants and through other human activities, has a serious impact on global warming. The study, done by the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR)-Indian Institute Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bengaluru, has found that India is among the leading nations that benefit from mango orchards absorbing CO2.

The first-of-its-kind study in the country collated carbon pool data (soil carbon stocks, litter, and weed biomass carbon) and data on absorption of CO2 by mango orchards in India.

The study revealed that after Andhra Pradesh, Telangana’s mango orchards have absorbed the highest amount of CO2 in the country, followed by Uttar Pradesh (35.58mt), Karnataka (29.57 mt), and Odisha (21.07mt). Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have the maximum area under mango cultivation (5.13 lakh hectares) in India.

Lead author of the paper GN Ganeshmurthy said while an orchard cannot be replaced by a natural eco-system like a forest, they should, however, be promoted as they provide food and add to the green cover, which helps in bringing down greenhouses emission.

Dr GV Ramanjanjyalu, executive director of Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad, told The New Indian Express that “Mango has the longest life-cycle as compared to other fruit-bearing trees including citrus, gauava and papaya. All plants absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it. However, as mango trees have a larger surface area compared to other fruit-bearing trees, they absorb more CO2 than other trees.”

Ganeshmurthy says that they urge the administrations to promote such horticulture which will not only cater to the people’s food demand but will also help in carbon sequestration and improve soil health.

The study says that apart from mango, other fruits trees like apple, citrus, guava, sapota, also sequester high amount of CO2. The study calculated carbon equivalence using the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator.

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