1 Tahrcountry Musings: Appropriately managing above-ground vegetation carbon stores in a densely urbanized city

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Appropriately managing above-ground vegetation carbon stores in a densely urbanized city

Mapping an urban ecosystem service: quantifying above-ground carbon storage at a city-wide scale

Zoe G. Davies,Jill L. Edmondson,Andreas Heinemeyer,Jonathan R. Leake,Kevin J. Gaston
Article first published online: 11 JUL 2011

Journal of Applied Ecology

Volume 48, Issue 5, pages 1125–1134, October 2011

This is a very interesting paper. The authors say even urban landscape can be put to use for carbon sequestration.

Urbanization is a major driver of land-use change globally. But attempts to quantify and map ecosystem service provision at a city-wide scale are very sparse. Here the researchers examined the quantities and spatial patterns of above-ground carbon stored in a typical British city, Leicester. This was achieved by surveying vegetation across the entire urban area. They also took in to account how carbon density differs in domestic gardens, which the researchers say is indicative of bottom-up management of private green spaces by householders. Public land was also surveyed which the researcher say represents top-down landscape policies by local authorities. A comparison of a national ecosystem service map with the estimated quantity and distribution of above-ground carbon within the study city was also done.

These are the conclusions
An estimated 231to 521 tonnes of carbon is stored within the above-ground vegetation of Leicester, equating to 3·16 kg C m−2 of urban area, with 97·3% of this carbon pool being associated with trees rather than herbaceous and woody vegetation

Domestic gardens store just 0·76 kg C m−2, which is not significantly different from herbaceous vegetation landcover (0·14 kg C m−2). The greatest above-ground carbon density is 28·86 kg C m−2, which is associated with areas of tree cover on publicly owned/managed sites.

 The researchers clearly demonstrate potential benefits of accounting for, mapping and appropriately managing above-ground vegetation carbon stores, even within a typical densely urbanized European city.

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