SAN ANTONIO -- Conservation specialists say the earth's natural landscape is something that helps lower the carbon footprint. 

  • Ideas of replacing landscape with switchgrass
  • Certain earthly materials have carbon footprints

"So we've got some prairie grasses here, some switchgrass and here's a flame leaf sumac tree," said Gary Poole, conservation specialist at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. "It's a deciduous tree, a native."

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The City of San Antonio hopes reach carbon neutrality.

"We will need to reduce the amount of emissions that we are releasing by about 86 percent by 2050," said Doug Melnick, City of San Antonio Office of Sustainability. "We are always going to be omitting emissions but the remaining 14 percent or so will need to be physically captured and stored."

That could be done by actually pulling it out by something mechanical or just by the natural landscape, like plants.

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"They incorporate carbon out of the atmosphere to their structures so we say they sequester carbon by the tree trunks, the roots system, the leaves they are all made of carbon compounds," said Poole.

It's all hiding several feet below the ground.

"If we took out all of our St. Augustine Lawns in San Antonio and threw them out and we planted switchgrass, we would be storing in our landscapes probably 30 to 50 times more carbon then we currently are," said Poole.

"Plus we would be using fewer resources. Less water, which has a carbon footprint and less fertilizer, which has a carbon footprint," said Poole. "Less herbicides and fungicides and all these things that also all have carbon footprints."

He said native plants have already adapted to this type of climate.

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"Plants that are native, not just to Texas but to our part of Texas with it's periodic droughts," said Poole. "Those plants are designed to survive weather or climate changes."

After planting, it's simply time to let nature take its course‚Äč.

"It allows us to connect with a world that has been millions of years in the making and we could be part that world or we could be destroyers of that world," said Poole.