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Conservation Science for a Healthy Planet

Impacts of land protection on carbon sequestration in coastal California forests and rangelands- UC Berkeley webinar on findings

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The UC Berkeley team—David Ackerly, Whendee Silver, Patrick Gonzalez, Van Bustic, Maggi Kelly, John Battles, and Allegra Mayer—conducted an end-of-the-project WEBINAR for the Coastal Conservancy’s “Land Acquisition and Ecosystem Carbon” project. We will present our findings on carbon sequestration in forests and rangelands, plus other cool info, AND answer your questions in the 90-minute webinar.

From the Ackerly Lab website:

…Over 35 years, the State Coastal Conservancy has undertaken more than 200 projects, protecting 550 parcels that cover almost a half million acres. …. This diversity in geography and land use provides a unique opportunity to assess the impacts of land protection on ecosystem carbon sequestration due to avoided development and land management practices. Legislative mandates to reduce the carbon footprint of the state make such assessments increasingly important as part of conservation planning and project evaluation, and as a component of strategic planning for future SCC acquisitions.

Assessments of carbon sequestration broadly involve three distinct questions. The first is quantification of standing carbon stocks in any given vegetation type. Above-ground carbon is relatively easy to quantify, via remote-sensing and direct ground surveys. Below-ground carbon stocks, in contrast, require intensive soil sampling for direct measurement and spatial extrapolations that require more simplifying assumptions in the absence of remote sensing information.

The second question is how carbon stocks change over time, the balance of fluxes in and out of the ecosystem driving these changes, and the influence of land use, resource management, disturbance (especially fire), and vegetation change on these fluxes.

The third component of carbon assessments is the evaluation of alternative scenarios for dynamics of carbon fluxes under contrasting management or land use, either in the past or future…..direct validation of the projections is not possible except by comparison with other systems in space or time.

The project was completed in September 2017 and the report will be available later in the year.

Partners include the Climate Readiness Institute, U.C. Berkeley (David Ackerly Lab), the California Coastal Conservancy, and the National Park Service.

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