Honours degree of Bachelor of Science
School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences
Agostino, Nicholas James, The potential of carbon sequestration in trees on the University of Wollongong campus as a means of offsetting emissions, Honours degree of Bachelor of Science, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, University of Wollongong, 2020.
As anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise exponentially the need for effective carbon mitigation strategies is becoming increasingly important. Carbon farming represents a relatively low cost option for businesses to offset their emissions and is quickly becoming more achievable with carbon accounting methods and carbon credits being specifically designed to benefit both the business and landholder. The primary goal of this study is to quantify carbon storage through sequestration in trees on the University of Wollongong (UoW) main campus in order to be able to inform on a carbon strategy which best utilizes carbon farming as an offsetting strategy. This study is the first to investigate the degree to which tree carbon sequestration offsets the carbon budget of UoW, and one of the few existing studies to examine the on-campus management of natural carbon offsetting for tertiary institutions in Australia. Based on the results presented here recommendations are made regarding how best to maximise on and off campus carbon farming, with consideration to a number of factors such as time, financial feasibility, space and other carbon mitigation strategies that are already in place. Six different genera-specific allometric models for Australian trees from published sources were used to determine the aboveground biomass of trees present on campus and from there the carbon stock and carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq.) could be determined. Estimates of carbon stocks were achieved through a combination of data analysis of an extensive campus tree inventory dataset, as well as surveying of areas which were not accounted for in this inventory. The annual carbon dioxide absorption of trees was also found with species-specific growth increment data. Based on these calculations it was determined how much aboveground sequestration offsets emissions produced by UoW on a yearly basis and allowed for carbon uptake trends to be established for last 30 years. Ultimately it was found that the current carbon stock of the campus for 2020 is approximately 15,082 tonnes of CO2 eq. and the carbon uptake between 2019 and 2020 was 325 tonnes of CO2 eq. This yearly uptake offsets 0.68% of carbon emissions for the year of 2019 and the rate of sequestration over time was found to be increasing since the campus was established. It was also found that of all the genera present on campus Eucalypts account for the most carbon storage. Terrestrial forests are undoubtedly unique ecosystems which play an important mitigation role when addressing the challenges of global climate change. Understanding how much carbon can be stored in the types of forests can have significant implications for future carbon management for tertiary institutions which have a social responsibility towards sustainability.
FoR codes (2008)
050205 Environmental Management
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.