This $53,000 grant will be used to advance the University of Maryland’s goal to become climate neutral by including land-based carbon into its annual estimate of the campus' carbon footprint and annual offset purchasing program.
While much progress has been made to lower the University’s carbon footprint across multiple energy sectors, tree conservation or restoration could further enhance these goals with high-resolution and accurate measurements of forest carbon gains (or losses) at 90 square meter resolution. As a living document, the University’s Climate Action Plan can also be further developed to demonstrate our commitment to maintaining or increasing our natural carbon storage capacities via informed land-use decisions.
The University of Maryland’s leadership on this effort parallels the incorporation of this science into the State of Maryland’s plan for achieving the goals of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act as part of NASA's Carbon Monitoring System and serves as an example for other universities interested in holistic carbon accounting.
Throughout the project, Lamb and Hurtt will oversee a team of undergraduate researchers who will lead the development of the monitoring framework. Students will also have an opportunity to work directly with the UMD Office of Sustainability to ensure the scientific products are most useful for campus land planning and assessment.