GEMS397 (Undergraduate honors thesis, 2007-2010)
Carbon Sinks
Thursdays 5:00-7:00    Room: CSS 3425    Credits: 2   Instructor: Prof. Ning Zeng   Course web: http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~zeng/gemstone

Link to the students' website

Objective

Studying ways to utilize and enhance forest as carbon sink to combat global climate change. Specifically, we want to study the feasibility, management, and implications of the proposal of 'carbon sequestration via wood burial'.

Broad tasks:
1. Modeling using individual tree resolving 'gap model': JABOWA
  
a. Find a strategy that will maximize the carbon sequestration rate, but with minimum disturbance to the natural ecosystem
   b. Implement soil carbon cycling in JABOWA

2. Field measurements at Greenbelt Park and Belwood, or other sites
   Background study on US Forest Inventory (FIA), Harmon et al. work
   Biomass, deadwood, lifetime (mortality rate), ...
   How much CO2 are Maryland's forests currently taking up? East Coast?, US?

3. Management  of wood burial by experiment
   a. How to bury? how long does it stay? Visit landfill
   b. Visit logging site in MD, VA, or PA?

4. Policy implications of a 10GtC/y carbon sequestration strategy
   a. UN's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Afforestation/Reforestation may be significantly enhanced
       Work with Winrock International; inviting Tim Pearson for a talk?
   b. Implication for State of Maryland to cut CO2 emissions in the RGGI initiative (Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states)

We will address in this project
Scientific questions :
What's the carbon sequestration potential of wood burial?
What's the decomposition rate of buried and submerged wood?
How much CO2 is Maryland's forests currently taking up?

Management and economic questions:
What's the cost of a large scale wood burial scheme?
What's the best strategy in optimizing wood harvest with minimum impact on the ecosystem and environment?

Policy questions:
What are the political and cutural motivations as well as obstacles for carbon sequestration strategy in general, and wood burial in particular?


Timeline
    Spring-Summer ’08 (So.)

        * Get permission to use land/water for research
        * Thesis Proposal
        * Present to DNR for funding
        * Begin to collect data
        * Contact experts in the field
        * Investigate physically-based models

    Fall-Winter ’08 (Jr.)

        * Continue to collect data
        * Apply for funding
        * Junior Colloquium
        * Begin outlining thesis
        * Continue investigating physically-based models

    Spring-Summer ’09 (Jr.)

        * Have collected enough field data to begin modeling but continue to collect data
        * Continue working on the lab 'accelerated decomposition' experiment and make sure it is working
        * Build on the JABOWA model, make modifications as necessary and explore the optimal forest management strategy for carbon sequestration
        * See if we can come to a tentative conclusion on the ultimate feasibility of our selected strategy.
        * Produce first draft of thesis and obtain feedback
        * Undergraduate Research Day
        * Present our work at the ACC meeting in S. Carolina

    Fall-Winter ’09 (Sr.)

        * Develop and market a business plan
        * Complete thesis and obtain feedback
        * Complete data collection and analysis
        * Develop Thesis Presentation
        * Name 5 experts to sit on the panel at the Thesis Presentation

    Spring ’10 (Sr.)

        * Complete and submit thesis
        * Present and defend thesis
        * Market business plan
        * Update thesis
        * Attempt to get published in a scientific/nature journal


Tasks for the current semester
        * Have collected enough field data to begin modeling but continue to collect data
        * Continue working on the lab 'accelerated decomposition' experiment and make sure it is working
        * Build on the JABOWA model, make modifications as necessary and explore the optimal forest management strategy for carbon sequestration
        * See if we can come to a tentative conclusion on the ultimate feasibility of our selected strategy.
        * Produce first draft of thesis and obtain feedback
        * Present our work at the ACC meeting in S. Carolina
        * Other requirements by GEMSTONE program.



References

Link here
Additional background readings will be given out as needed

Links
I am teaching a class that covers the fundamentals of climate change and carbon cycle and you are welcome to sit in:
AOSC658A Special Topics in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science 
Carbon Cycle and Climate: Past, Present and Future
Tuesdays 10-12:15   Room: CSS 3425    Credits: 3   Instructor: Prof. Ning Zeng   Course web: http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~zeng/AOSC658A

Instructor:

        Prof. Ning Zeng
        Office: CSS 2417
        Phone: (301) 405-5377    Fax: (301) 314-9482
        Email: zeng@atmos.umd.edu
http://www.atmos.umd.edu/~zeng/