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Cherry trees absorb carbon emissions, South Korea scientists say

Scientists in South Korea say cherry blossoms can offset greenhouse gas emissions, like these blooming April 5 at Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Garden in Japan.  Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Scientists in South Korea say cherry blossoms can offset greenhouse gas emissions, like these blooming April 5 at Osaka Castle Nishinomaru Garden in Japan.  Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

April 7 (UPI) -- Cherry trees can offset greenhouse gas emissions and a single cherry tree can absorb as much as 20 pounds of carbon emissions annually, South Korean scientists say.

The Korea Forest Service's Korea Forest Research Institute said Tuesday cherry trees could be helpful in reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change, Yonhap reported.

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Hypothetically, 250 cherry trees, each 25 years old, can absorb 2.4 tons of carbon emissions, which is about the average amount of pollution one passenger vehicle emits annually, according to the report.

South Korea is home to 1.5 million cherry trees, according to forestry statistics dating back to 2018. Annually the trees are capable of absorbing carbon emissions from 6,000 cars annually.

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The country is in the midst of cherry blossom viewing season, but outdoor activities have been curtailed due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Local television network KBS reported Sunday the government extended social distancing guidelines for an additional two weeks. Crowding is being discouraged until April 19, according to the report.

Throngs of South Koreans typically gather in parks and cities like Gwangju to view the blossoms, but people appeared in public in fewer numbers over the weekend, the report says.

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South Korean parks have taken pre-emptive measures to prevent crowds from forming during this critical time.

At Gwangju's Uncheon Reservoir, a popular viewing location, park authorities blocked the entrance to a bridge in the middle of the reservoir.

People who did come out to see the blossoms wore masks and said they were "frustrated" with the restrictions that have come with the coronavirus outbreak. The country was one of the first to witness a major outbreak of the infectious disease outside China.

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South Korean cases of COVID-19 topped 10,330 on Tuesday.

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