A study of relative carbon storage of young and old forests on the University of Michigan North Campus

Christina Carlson
School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan
Christina Carlson is a master’s student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan where her studies focus on the intersections of environmental science and policy. She has worked in D.C. at the Union of Concerned Scientists in the Center for Science and Democracy where she researched how science is used and misused in public policy. She has been a contributing author to several reports on topics including business response to climate change and sugar and health policy. Prior to joining UCS, she worked on national and regional ocean policy issues at the Meridian Institute in Washington, D.C. She holds an A.B. in environmental science and policy from Duke University.
Other presenters/researchers: 
Krithika Sampath, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan; kriths@umich.edu; Kithika Sampath is a Master’s student in the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. Her studies focus on the use of GIS and Remote sensing in conservation biology. Her research interests include ecosystem restoration and water engineering. She holds a B.E. in Environmental Engineering from Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, India.

Relative carbon sequestration of forests is of increasing interest in the face of climate change. Older forests with larger, heavier trees are thought to store more carbon than younger forests. The aboveground carbon storage of two oak-hickory forests of different ages (based on 1940 aerial photographs) was compared to test this assumption. Diameter at breast height (dbh) was measured for trees greater than 10 cm dbh along several transects in both forests, and was used to calculate mass of carbon stored in each tree based on species-specific allometric equations. While the average carbon stored per tree in the older forest was about 42% greater than that of the younger forest, the average carbon stored per square meter was about 36% greater for the younger forest than the older one. These results have implications for the justification and management, especially of urban forests patches, with respect to their ecosystem service of carbon sequestration.

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