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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Symposium in April to Explore Carbon Sequestration in Urban Green Spaces

March 8, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Americans covet urban green spaces. We manicure golf courses, tend lawns, work the soil for home gardens, create landscaping masterpieces, and turn parks into playgrounds. Yet little is known of the carbon footprint impacts that come with heavy use and intense management.

Ohio State University's Fawcett Center will be the site of a one-day carbon management and sequestration symposium in April to bring together leading world experts, key academic researchers, public opinion and thought leaders, carbon offset programmers, and elected officials to lay the research groundwork for terrestrial carbon sequestration in urban ecosystems.

"Carbon Sequestration in Urban Ecosystems" will take place on April 14 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center and Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Registration is $100 per person and includes lunch, refreshments and program materials.

"The thought is that urban green spaces can mitigate global warming by off-setting anthropogenic (manmade) emissions. They are relatively small spaces, and have potential high biomass productivity," said Rattan Lal, an Ohio State University soil scientist and director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center. "Plus the soil depth is very shallow – 6 to 10 inches of ground worked and trafficked. The question is what is that carbon footprint? That is what we want to find out."

The strategy, said Lal, is to make these intensively managed lands a net sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide through judicious management of inputs.

Speakers at the symposium will share information on what carbon sequestration is, the current knowledge on carbon sequestration in urban soils, the view of governmental policy and position, the role of carbon exchange from an economic perspective, green space contributions to the climate debate, the role of sustainable landscapes in urban environments, and the effects of capturing carbon dioxide within the urban ecosystems.

Some agenda topics include: The Changing Face of Urban Land Use; Assessment of U.S. Urban Soil Carbon Stocks; Influence of Soil Carbon on Soil Properties; Dynamics of Carbon Cycling in Lawn Ecosystems; Urban Tree Species for Carbon Sequestration; Impact of Terrestrial Carbon Management on Water Quality; Carbon Offsets and Credits; The Value of Carbon Sequestration in Backyard Habitats; and Carbon Policy and Global Warming.

Full agenda and registration information can be found at

Candace Pollock
Rattan Lal