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USC research project suggests tree planting in South LA region


USC will receive nearly $9 million in funds for three sustainability research projects, including an initiative to plant 400 trees in East and South Los Angeles communities, the university announced this week.

The university said the $8.8 million in funding was the result of a settlement from a class-action lawsuit in 2016 which awarded two dozen institutions–including USC–with support for proposals. A university spokesperson declined to provide specifics on who was providing the funding.

“The university’s sustainability work has achieved critical momentum, and this funding will give it a real shot in the arm,’’ USC President Carol Folt said. “Many dynamic programs are already in place, yet climate change issues are more urgent than ever — and much more work needs to be done.’’

The 400 trees are set to be planted through the USC Urban Trees Initiative, a partnership between USC, the city and nonprofits to equitably distribute green spaces in Los Angeles.

The other other initiatives receiving funding are: A USC Energy Institute project conducting research into repurposing idle oil and gas wells to store excess energy from renewable sources, and an effort by the university’s Microbial Greenhouse Gas Consumption Research Center to identify and grow microbes that can convert greenhouse gases into waste products.

The funds will support research that “accelerates the transition to renewable energy, while also developing the potential of natural resources to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and further address the vexing problem of climate change,’’ according to Mahta Moghaddam, distinguished professor at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and co-chair of the USC Presidential Working Group on Sustainability.

“The funds will also help our ongoing initiative to optimally plant trees in Los Angeles in areas that are particularly vulnerable to rising temperatures due to climate change,’’ Moghaddam said.