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Seed Grant: Effects of Environmental Attributes on Carbon Storage and Sequestration in Ohio's Oak-Hickory Forests

Summary

The purpose of this project was to determine the effects of geophysical site conditions upon the carbon sequestration rates and storage in Ohio's oak-hickory forests; to more accurately estimate the carbon storage and sequestration, and to develop models that reflect and predict carbon storage and the rate of sequestration. This project targeted the Ohio River Basin region.

Tar Hollow and Zaleski State Forests were selected for this study as they represent two of Ohio's largest state forests and provided the variability of site conditions necessary to accomplish project objectives with replication. Aboveground biomass was determined with published equations for all tree components (bole, crown, foliage), and for mid-story and ground level vegetation. Root biomass was likewise determined with the use of published models and equations. Biomass of forest litter was measured directly with the use of stratified sampling methods (stratified plots), and drying of sampled components (litter, herbaceous, and woody), and the deadwood component was measured with the use of the line-transect method, converting volume to biomass. Soil samples were collected from these stratified plots for the purpose of soil carbon determination with the assistance of the STAR lab in Wooster, Ohio.

Models were developed from the data to estimate total forest carbon, belowground carbon and aboveground carbon. Models were also developed to determine the rates of sequestration which is important in future management of these systems for carbon-related goals.

Project Status

A series of products have been created as a result of this project that will provide forest managers necessary tools to create and manage forest carbon projects. This includes information regarding the amount of carbon in oak-hickory forests, the rate at which this carbon is sequestered, and diagrams to use in management to determine the total amount of carbon that currently is stored, and how that amount of carbon stored will change depending on how the forest is manipulated to achieve management goals.

A spin-off study was also conducted regarding fuel loading in following different forest harvest intensities and the resulting carbon release potential from forest fire.

Contact

Roger Williams
School of Environment and Natural Resources
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences