Plant Materials Centers throughout the country develop plant solutions for improving air quality. Plants improve air quality by reducing windborne particulate matter and by mitigating odors, particulates, and ammonia from concentrated animal facilities. Plants also improve the quality of air through photosynthesis, which absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and stores it as carbon in biomass and soils.
Grasses and other vegetation help to hold soil in place and reduce airborne particulate matter in areas that may be subject to wind erosion. Long-term plantings can provide high rates of carbon sequestration in soil. Windbreaks and shelterbelts are useful in reducing wind speeds; the management of PM emissions from field operations; and the management, interception, and dispersion of PM, odor, and ammonia emissions from animal facilities. Windbreaks and shelterbelts also provide a great means to sequester carbon and provide wildlife habitat.