How much CO2 can urban forests store?

A new University College London (UCL) study, published in Carbon Balance and Management, used publicly-available airborne LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data collected by the UK Environment Agency, combined with ground-based LiDAR measurements, to generate a map of carbon stored in an estimated 85,000 trees across the London Borough of Camden.

According to the researchers, urban forest can contain as much carbon as tropical rainforests. They found that areas such as Hampstead Heath store up to 178 tonnes of carbon per ha, in comparison to the median value for tropical rainforests of 190 tonnes of carbon per ha.

“The trees in our cities are important. They matter because they are close to people and are a key component of our urban environment providing beauty, shade and homes for myriad species as well as absorbing carbon and pollutants. The work being carried out at UCL is adding color and detail to this understanding,” said Sir Harry Studholme, Chair of the Forestry Commission.

LiDAR uses millions of laser pulses to build a very detailed picture of the 3D structure of trees. This allows the team to accurately estimate how much carbon the trees have absorbed via photosynthesis during their lives. It also allows them to estimate the carbon sink provided by urban trees, important for helping to offset fossil fuel emissions.

See related articles:

UK urban forest can store as much carbon as tropical rainforests

Urban ‘forests’ can store almost as much carbon as tropical rainforests

Deforestation impact on local temperature

Researchers at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science (ETH) in Switzerland and the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany recently published their work on deforestation effects on temperature over time in Nature Climate Change. They concluded that the biogeophysical effects of historical deforestation led to significant local increases in temperature over many areas in the world.

A study published earlier this year in Nature Communications also found that forests may have an even bigger cooling effect on climate than expected.

Costa Rica: First Central American satellite to monitor forest growth

The Central American Association for Aeronautics and Space (ACAE) and the Costa Rican Institute of Technology (TEC) successfully launched the first CubeSat technology satellite to daily monitor carbon fixation, biomass and environmental variables in a beechwood tree plantation in the northern region of Costa Rica.

Daily tree growth is measured with electronic dendrometers. This information is synchronized with a data aggregator that stores the information to be transmitted to the satellite. This includes weather, solar radiation and soil moisture conditions. This then reaches the ground station, mission control, and a data visualization center, which processes the scientific data to make it available to the public.

Proyecto Irazú was supported through sponsoring companies, government contributions and donations received through Kickstarter. TEC students worked hand in hand with scientists from NASA, the Kyushu Institute of TechnologyDelft University of Technology and Ad Astra Rocket.

Read the full article here.

When a fire starts to burn

Rachel MacManus, Head of Content at Green Lady Media, has gathered insightful information in her article The growing problem of wildfires in Britain and what to do if you see one for the latest edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine. It discusses the different causes, consequences and ways to tackle this problem. “Aside from the cost of tackling these blazes, and resources diverted from emergencies like traffic collisions and house fires, the damage to the natural habitat can be catastrophic,” Rachel explains.

Totgeglaubte leben länger: Warum Totholz so wertvoll ist

Der Landesbetrieb Forst Brandenburg und die Design Akademie Berlin haben ein spannendes Konzept entwickelt: In vier Kurzfilmen zeigen sie die Bedeutung von Biotopflächen im Wald — mit dem Fokus auf Totholz als wichtiger und einzigartiger Lebensraum. 

Das Projekt Methusalem 2.0 des Landesbetrieb Forst Brandenburg soll die Förderung von Biotopbäumen und Totholz im Landeswald in den nächsten zehn Jahren durch die Einbeziehung von Baumgruppen und Arealen alter, absterbender und toter Bäume erweitern. Der Landesbetrieb strebt damit eine Integration von Naturschutzbelangen in die Waldbewirtschaftung an.

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