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Land managers gain tools to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions


Man kneeling with shovel in left hand next to a stream. Stephen Prisley contributed to the team that developed science-based methods to quantify changes in greenhouse gas emissions and carbon storage.

Feb. 15, 2016 – Being able to measure forestry and agricultural intake and emissions of carbon dioxide is critical to developing a strategy for addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gases. A team of 38 scientists has developed science-based methods for measuring changes in greenhouse gases, published in a USDA report. Professor Stephen Prisley wrote the report section about management to increase carbon storage. “My contribution was how to measure dry weight, carbon uptake, and change,” he said. “Measuring involves the use of data such as soil maps to tell us how productive a site would be and satellite imagery to determine land cover and assess the health of tree stands.”

The report is geared to small landowners who want to increase carbon storage through agriculture or forestry. User-friendly tools are being developed that will assist land managers who are considering entry into the voluntary carbon storage market. The report explains how to map and inventory a forest based on acreage and tree size, age, and species, and also addresses what to do with the land after a timber harvest to continue or resume pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The USDA will also use the methods in the report to prioritize research and data collection to improve agriculture and forestry greenhouse gas inventory from local to national scales.

Read the full press release.

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