Date of Graduation

12-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Chemical Engineering

Advisor

Matlock, Marty

Reader

Boles, Eric

Abstract

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have risen from approximately 310 ppm in the 1950’s to over 400 ppm as of 2015. This rise in CO2 has likely resulted in the observed warming trend of the earth’s atmosphere in the same time frame, causing significant concern in the scientific community. Several mitigation strategies have arisen to combat the upward trend of CO2 emissions in recent decades, among them being carbon sequestration- the process of capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and holding it for an extended period of time. This study used the U.S. Forest Service Tree Carbon Calculator (CTCC) to calculate the annual rate of CO2 sequestration, the total mass of CO2 stored, and the total above ground biomass of the SEFOR Land Holdings of the University of Arkansas. This unmanaged 243 hectare land area lies south of the University of Arkansas near the Ozark National Forest and consists mainly of hardwood tree species. The objectives of this exploration included gathering data on a representative sampling of the land holdings, characterizing the data into sub-groups, modeling sequestration rates using CTCC, and developing probability distributions of the sequestration and carbon storage potentials of the area. These results could then be used in land use valuation for the purposes of offsetting carbon emissions from a designated geography. This article details and develops a strategy for balancing the carbon budget of Northwest Arkansas. By using @Risk probability distribution software, it was determined that the SEFOR area sequesters, with 95% certainty, more than 10,087 metric tons of CO2 per year. In 2013, the University of Arkansas produced approximately 145,000 metric tons of CO2. Without forest management the SEFOR land holdings sequestered nearly 7% of the University’s carbon emissions, with proper forest management and larger land area, this could be improved to offset the University’s emissions. Proper forest management could have significant impacts on carbon offset in the future.

Keywords

carbon sequestration, forest modeling, @Risk, CTCC, hardwood

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