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Title: Technical Report on Application and Development of Appropriate Tools and Technologies for Cost-Effective Carbon Sequestration

The Nature Conservancy participated in a Cooperative Agreement with the Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to explore the compatibility of carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems and the conservation of biodiversity. The title of the research project was 'Application and Development of Appropriate Tools and Technologies for Cost-Effective Carbon Sequestration'. The objectives of the project were to: (1) improve carbon offset estimates produced in both the planning and implementation phases of projects; (2) build valid and standardized approaches to estimate project carbon benefits at a reasonable cost; and (3) lay the groundwork for implementing cost-effective projects, providing new testing ground for biodiversity protection and restoration projects that store additional atmospheric carbon. This Final Technical Report discusses the results of the six tasks that The Nature Conservancy undertook to answer research needs while facilitating the development of real projects with measurable greenhouse gas reductions. The research described in this report occurred between July 1st 2001 and July 10th 2008. The specific tasks discussed include: Task 1: carbon inventory advancements; Task 2: emerging technologies for remote sensing of terrestrial carbon; Task 3: baseline method development; Task 4: third-party technical advisory panel meetings; Task 5: new project feasibility studies; andmore » Task 6: development of new project software screening tool. The project occurred in two phases. The first was a focused exploration of specific carbon measurement and monitoring methodologies and pre-selected carbon sequestration opportunities. The second was a more systematic and comprehensive approach to compare various competing measurement and monitoring methodologies, and assessment of a variety of carbon sequestration opportunities in order to find those that are the lowest cost with the greatest combined carbon and other environmental benefits. In the first phase we worked in the U.S., Brazil, Belize, Bolivia, Peru, and Chile to develop and refine specific carbon inventory methods, pioneering a new remote-sensing method for cost-effectively measuring and monitoring terrestrial carbon sequestration and system for developing carbon baselines for both avoided deforestation and afforestation/reforestation projects. We evaluated the costs and carbon benefits of a number of specific terrestrial carbon sequestration activities throughout the U.S., including reforestation of abandoned mined lands in southwest Virginia, grassland restoration in Arizona and Indiana, and reforestation in the Mississippi Alluvial Delta. The most cost-effective U.S. terrestrial sequestration opportunity we found through these studies was reforestation in the Mississippi Alluvial Delta. In Phase II we conducted a more systematic assessment and comparison of several different measurement and monitoring approaches in the Northern Cascades of California, and a broad 11-state Northeast regional assessment, rather than pre-selected and targeted, analysis of terrestrial sequestration costs and benefits. Work was carried out in Brazil, Belize, Chile, Peru and the USA. Partners include the Winrock International Institute for Agricultural Development, The Sampson Group, Programme for Belize, Society for Wildlife Conservation (SPVS), Universidad Austral de Chile, Michael Lefsky, Colorado State University, UC Berkeley, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, ProNaturaleza, Ohio State University, Stephen F. Austin University, Geographical Modeling Services, Inc., WestWater, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Century Ecosystem Services, Mirant Corporation, General Motors, American Electric Power, Salt River Project, Applied Energy Systems, KeySpan, NiSource, and PSEG. This project, 'Application and Development of Appropriate Tools and Technologies for Cost-Effective Carbon Sequestration', has resulted in over 50 presentations and reports, available publicly through the Department of Energy or by visiting the links listed in Appendix 1. More important than the reports, the project has helped to lead to the development of on-the-ground projects in Southwestern Virginia, Louisiana, and Chile while informing policy development in Virginia, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, the California Climate Action Registry and U.S. and international programs.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
The Nature Conservancy
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States