OM Sanctuary – Sequestering Carbon at the Edge of Town

EcoForesters is assessing the total amount of carbon stored, both above and below ground, on the 42 acres of forest under permanent conservation easement on the OM Sanctuary property located just across the river west of UNC Asheville.

Since this forest was planned for development prior to being conserved by OM Sanctuary, all of the carbon currently sequestered in the forest has been saved, as well as all future carbon accumulating in the forest.  This is a significant carbon sink that can be used to offset the carbon footprint of the OM Sanctuary, which they were already trying to minimize.

Following the rigorous California Air Resources Board’s Carbon Offset Protocols to estimate the carbon stored in this forest, EcoForesters intensively measured 20 permanent forest inventory plots spread across the forest.  Tree diameters, heights, and health were all precisely measured for all overstory trees and a subsample of understory trees.  Also, non-native invasive plant and native shrub cover was estimated.

This sample of forest data was analyzed to extrapolate the total volume of live and decaying wood in the forest, which is directly proportional to the amount of carbon stored both above and below ground (in the soil and tree roots).  Furthermore, this data is being modeled to predict approximately how much forest carbon will be stored over the next ten years due to the net growth of the forest.  It is recommended that these plots be re-inventoried every 10 years to verify how much more carbon is accumulating in the forest over time as well.

EcoForesters is preparing a final written report evaluating the total amount of carbon that was saved due to the avoided conversion of OM Sanctuary’s conserved forest to development.  This final written report will detail how many tons of carbon are, and will be, sequestered on OM Sanctuary property to substantiate their forest carbon offsets and to help them mitigate their carbon footprint.