Increasing greenhouse gas emissions pose a serious threat to our planet, and mitigation efforts need to be considered to help save the global ecosystem from irreparable damages. As students in ENR 567 last spring, we discovered an opportunity for the university to significantly reduce its annual carbon emissions: planting woodlots on off-campus properties to sequester and store carbon. This would also help the university reach the goal set forth by President Gee to become carbon neutral by 2050.
Through the use of nearly 2,000 acres of undeveloped off-campus properties, carbon emissions can be offset by harnessing the power of biological sequestration in managed forest plots. Using oak-hickory stands over a 45-year rotation, Ohio State would be able to sequester 1,717 metric tons of carbon (mTC) equivalent per year.
These figures compare favorably to the current offset programs employed by Ohio State. As of now, the university’s current offsets total 432 mTC equivalent per year. By planting these “carbon farms,” Ohio State would be able to offset four times more carbon than the current offset programs. This would also offset 5 percent of Ohio State’s remaining emissions after the initial reduction of 34,000 mTCequivalent per year. These carbon farms could offset a significant portion of the unversity’s emissions, as well as create forests that would also provide many other ecological and social benefits.