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LANDSCAPE DESIGN FOR CARBON SEQUESTRATION Master’s Thesis Project Department of Landscape Architecture University of Oregon Deanna Lynn June 5, 2020


Contents 1. Background and Scope Principles 2. Principle 1: Complex Adaptive Systems 3. Principle 2: Soil Ecological Health 4. Principle 3: Climate Positive Design Part Two: Application 5. Strategies for Design 6. Strategies for Installation 7. Strategies for Management 8. Conclusion


Climate change mitigation

We need to take carbon out of the atmosphere as well as reduce emissions to mitigate climate change


Natural Climate Solutions Natural Climate Solutions are techniques to enhance natural carbon sequestration by protecting or restoring landscapes such as forests or grasslands and managing productive landscapes better.

Natural carbon sequestration is the process where plants draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis, use that carbon to construct biomass, and send the carbon belowground to the soil Natural Climate Solutions have potential to mitigate up to 21% of US emissions each year (Fargione et al. 2018).


Goals + Methodology Initial research question

1

Inform designers about the key drivers and processes of plant and soil carbon sequestration in ecosystems

Literature review on plant traits, soil life, and carbon sequestration

Interpretation of literature

2

Provide a framework of recommendations to guide design, installation, and management of landscapes for increased carbon sequestration potential.

Principles

Strategies and actions

1

2

3


Significance • Existing tools for designing for carbon sequestration only incorporate data about biomass not soil • There aren’t any resources for landscape architects to guide designing for biomass AND soil carbon sequestration based on the • that gap in knowledge


Principles Complex Adaptive Systems

Soil Ecologial Health

Climate Positive Design

Application

DESIGN

INSTALLATION

MANAGEMENT


Principle 1: Complex Adaptive Systems


Plant Functional Diversity • Functional diversity in an ecosystem the degree of variation in functional traits among organisms in a community. • Functional traits are independently measurable features of a plant that plant survives and reproduces.


Functional Diversity + Niche Complementarity • Niche Complementarity: when functionally diverse organisms occupy different roles or niches that are complementary, working together to use resources (such as light, water, nutrients) more

• Add functional diversity and the whole system can become more


Functional Diversity Facilitates Self-organization • Functionally diverse groups of organisms interact in more complex ways • Self-organization is when these interactions allow the group to function as a whole community to maintain favorable conditions or adapt to new conditions


Nonlinear feedbacks

Self-organization

Functional diversity

Complex Adaptive System

• Complex adaptive system: when the self-organization of a group of components (like organisms) allow patterns to emerge on a larger scale, that feedback to affect the functioning of the whole system, including the smaller components • The whole is more than the sum of the parts


Principle 2: Soil Ecological Health


Nonlinear feedbacks

Self-organization

Functional diversity

Complex Adaptive System

• Carbon sequestration is an emergent process arising from the complex interaction of plants and soil microbial communities acting together • Soil ecological health fundamental to facilitating carbon sequestration • Functional diversity is key


Climate Positive Design


Complex Adaptive Systems

P2 Soil Soil Ecological Ecological Health Health

Carbon sequestered in soil

Carbon sequestered in biomass

Climate Positive Design

Increased ecosystem productivity Reduced emissions from installation + management

Nonlinear Feedbacks of resources Self-organization Resiliency Functional Diversity

Carbon stored long-term


Part Two: Application

DESIGN

INSTALLATION

MANAGEMENT


Strategies for Design

1

2

3

Increase biomass

Increase biodiversity

Increase plant functional diversity

4 Design with plant life history strategies

5

Layer and cluster plants


Typical Park Landscape Lack of biodiversity leaves system vulnerable to pests, disease, or changing conditions.

Trees and lawn are similar heights, not very tall, and don’t have very deep roots, limiting carbon storage in biomass.

Lack of diversity results in spaces above and below ground without plant biomass, limiting carbon storage.

Plant community lacks complexity in space and time.

Plants are not well adapted to site, needing a lot of maintenance, contributing to carbon emissions.


Carbon Sequestering Woodland Landscape

Taller trees and plants with deeper roots store more carbon in biomass

Plants in vertical layers

Functional diversity of plants fills above and belowground niches, feeding carbon to soil ecosystem

Increased biodiversity supports system resilience

Plant community selforganizes and adapts well to site, requiring less maintenance.


Strategies for Installation

1

2

3

4

Protect existing soil from compaction

Soil amendments

Prevent soil erosion with plant cover

Reduce emissions from materials


Strategies for Management

1

Allow landscape to change

2

Apply coarse-scale management

3

Protect soil life

4

5

Reduce Improve lifecycle maintenancemanagement of related emissions trees


Conclusion: • • • •

Soil processes fundamental Design for whole system Work with and guide nature Carbon sequestration as co-benefit

Profile for Deanna Lynn

Landscape Design for Carbon Sequestration–Presentation Slides  

Landscape Design for Carbon Sequestration–Presentation Slides  

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