Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for transportation and electricity, land use and deforestation, agriculture, and industry are causing unprecedented rates of climate change. The climate emergency is intensifying as temperature extremes increase, snow and ice cover declines, and the oceans warm and acidify. The need to mitigate climate change is rapidly increasing and many mitigation efforts focus on the reduction of GHG outputs into the atmosphere, primarily the development of new renewable energy technologies in order to reduce the burning of fossil fuels. While a decreased reliance on fossil fuels is a key climate solution, a largely underappreciated method of mitigation is through enhancing the Earth’s carbon stocks, the carbon sequestered and stored in the plant and soil biomass of forested landscapes. Implementing sustainable land management strategies to protect against land development and improve the land’s sequestration potential provides an opportunity to increase the uptake of CO2 and reduce the atmospheric carbon concentration. While land trusts might not immediately come to mind when thinking about climate change mitigation, their work to protect natural ecosystems, improve vegetation cover and prevent deforestation and development is important in carbon sequestration. The benefits of land trusts extends beyond protecting biodiversity, enhancing and protecting vulnerable ecosystems, and providing recreation opportunities for the community to also providing a natural climate solution. This report is and exploration into the carbon sequestered and stored on land conserved by the Androscoggin Land Trust (ALT) in order to quantify ALT’s mitigation benefits. ALT conserves 52 properties throughout the Androscoggin Watershed in Maine, working with local landowners and organizations to protect significant land that gives this region character. We quantified the carbon held in each of the four land types in which the properties can be characterized: mixedwood forest, mixedwood forest and wetland, mixedwood forest and agricultural land, and mixedwood forest and meadow/field. We intend for the data, educational information about the carbon cycle and sequestration, and methodology that resulted from this project to be used to continue to quantify carbon held in more ALT properties, educate and inform the public about this benefit of ALT, and shared with other land trusts to allow them to complete similar projects. We provide ALT, and other Land Trusts, with the tools to increase the effectiveness of communicating their role in carbon sequestration and allow the value of land trusts in climate change mitigation to be fully appreciated and supported.
LaMarche, Olivia; Pelletier, Kirsten; and Viera, Eric, "Quantifying Carbon Stocks within the Androscoggin Land Trust" (2019). Community Engaged Research Reports. 64.