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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Symposium to Focus on Reponsible Urban Land-Use Management

March 25, 2010

Editor's note: Media are invited to attend the event. To RSVP, contact Candace Pollock at 614-292-3799 or e-mail by April 9.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As global populations increase, urban centers are becoming the areas of choice for residents. But with increasing urbanization comes more environmental responsibility for the land.

Ohio State University is hosting a one-day symposium on April 14 to bring together academic scholars, industry stakeholders and legislative officials to address emerging and current issues of urbanization.

"Carbon Sequestration in Urban Ecosystems" will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at Ohio State University's Fawcett Center, 2400 Olentangy River Road, Columbus. 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.

"In the U.S., 259 million people are living in urban centers now. By 2050, that number will jump to 364 million," said Rattan Lal, an Ohio State University soil scientist and director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center. "To support this increase in urbanization, 2.5 million acres of rural land are being converted for urban use every year."

He added that, globally, one-third of the world population lived in urban centers in 1960. Now 51 percent lives in urban areas and 70 percent will reside in urban areas by 2050.

"As a result, urban land use is a very important part of the ecosystem which needs to be studied with the understanding of making it more environmentally friendly," said Lal.

Aspects of environmental management include multifunctional issues such as ecological, economic, social, and land planning -- components of which include carbon sequestration, genetic diversity, cultural values, and synergistic urban landscapes. Such components, said Lal, can be beneficial to urban areas if cared for and managed properly.

"The symposium will be the place where industry, legislators and scientists can come together to work out a plan on how to best use the landscape in such a way as to enhance those benefits," said Lal. "Increased urban areas means more land use for homeownership, recreation, urban forestation and food production. These will become increasingly important issues."

The strategy, said Lal, is to make these intensively managed lands a net sink of atmospheric carbon dioxide through judicious management of inputs, which also improve the overall ecosystem of the urban greenspace.

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