Aboveground Carbon Potential in Deforested Minnesota Lands
One way for institutions to offset carbon emissions is to replant forests on degraded land. The ability of Minnesota’s landscape to sequester carbon dioxide varies widely -- some areas are already heavily forested while others have limited potential to support future forests. Thus, reforestation will not be a viable offset project in some parts of the state. This project was focused on targeting optimal sites for reforestation by using data on aboveground biomass, Geographic Information Systems technology, and geographically weighted regression. To target areas with the greatest potential for carbon absorption, processing was focused on creating a model that best predicts aboveground carbon in currently-forested land using both physical and human variables. After applying the same model to deforested land, residuals were used to calculate the amount of carbon that should be found in the landscape according to the model and locate areas containing considerably less carbon than expected. These findings were then used to analyze the amount of land that would need to be reforested to offset the carbon emissions of the University of Saint Thomas.