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Afforestation Case Study Evaluations

To demonstrate NASA-CASA model estimates of afforestation carbon gains over time, several comparisons of NASA-CASA model predictions to case study afforestation projects are presented here. CQUEST users can follow the steps outlined below to conduct similar afforestation project evaluations anywhere in the continental United States. Applicable CQUEST data layers are shown in red.

Carbon gains from NASA-CASA model NPP predictions are expressed at 1-km or 8-km spatial resolution in average flux units of g C m-2 yr-1.

Step 1: General Area Delineation

Unless an absolute location is already known, the user must decide on the general geographic area of the reported carbon sequestration project. This area is commonly determined in reference to a reported city, county, or management unit location(s) under Political Features, and is delineated in the following linked examples by a gray boundary line. A sub-area (not identified in the examples) of 8x8 MODIS 1-km pixels is selected to represent the geographic area characteristic of the land use conditions described in the case study, e.g. marginal cropland.

Step 2: Determining Baseline Cropland NPP Value

The lowest productivity cropland NPP value within the 8X8 km area, set from Crop NPP Carbon, is identified as a baseline for potential carbon gain. This value is then compared to the NASA-CASA model estimate from annual Forest NPP Carbon , which was derived from interpolated satellite image products that cover the same 8x8 km project sub-area. CQUEST users may use the Select Box tool to help identify the range of values in the 8X8 km area.

Step 3: Determining Predicted Forest NPP Value

Carbon sequestered over the projected years of afforestation is computed as the highest interpolated forest NPP value from Forest NPP Carbon within the same 8x8 km sub-area, adjusted for the total area of the reported sequestration project. Subtraction of a fraction the baseline Crop NPP Carbon (typically 20-30% per year) can be included to correct for carbon that might have been stored in cropland soils in the absence of intensive cultivation.

Step 4: Adjustments for Carbon Loss

Users must infer the probable combined effects of dead biomass decomposition, forest disturbance, and aging (abbreviated DDA for decomposition, disturbance, and aging) on net carbon sequestration rates for the projected length of the case study. In any forestation project, carbon sequestration potential in vegetation and soils may decline over a time period on the order of several decades to centuries, depending upon the forest type, species selection, soil nutrient availability, elevation, and latitudinal zone (Brown et al., 1996).

For the case studies linked below, a constant DDA value of 0.5 was applied across all case study locations. Comparison of projected afforestation carbon gains in the United States with NASA-CASA model predictions of gross carbon gain show close agreement (R2 = 0.81 for linear regression coefficient; p < 0.05). If users have more specific estimates of DDA values for their locations, this variable may be adjusted to better reflect individual project conditions.

Predicted forest wood biomass in Forest Wood Carbon from the NASA-CASA model for a nearby (group of) currently forested pixel(s) can be identified as an additional check on the potential carbon sequestration reported for each reported afforestation project.

Click on the afforestation project locations in the map below to view example case study and model evaluations.

Western Oregon Project White River Project Tensas Project Bayou Pierre Spanish Lake Big Walnut Creek Catahoula Reforestation Project Western Oregon Project White River Project Tensas Project Bayou Pierre Spanish Lake Big Walnut Creek Catahoula Reforestation Project

Brown, S., J. Sathaye, M. Cannell, and P. Kauppi. 1996. Management of forests for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. In R. T. Watson, M.C. Zinyowera, and R.H. Moss (eds.), Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptations and Mitigation of Climate Change: Scientific-Technical Analyses. Contribution of Working Group II to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge and New York, Chapter 24.


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