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Carbon Management and Land Use Decision Making

Lisa Dilling

This NOAA-funded project examined the potential for carbon management through land use decision making in Colorado. Previous work has focused on the technical potential of vegetation or the economic incentives necessary to induce stakeholders to change practices, but thus far there has not been a focus on the ownership pattern across the landscape, and how it might affect whether the potential for additional carbon sequestration on land might be realized. Work has focused on land management in the private and public sectors, and examined influences on decision making at different scales. In Colorado, as in the greater U.S., different types of strategies will be necessary to incentive carbon sequestration across private and public lands. Public lands in particular must also be managed for a host of competing uses, and calculations of the adoption of carbon sequestration practices based on forces such as a price on carbon will not be adequate for estimating the role of public lands in carbon management.

Failey, E. and Dilling, L. 2010. Carbon stewardship: Land management decisions and the potential for carbon sequestration in Colorado, USA. Environmental Research Letters, 5 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/5/2/024005.

Dilling is also collaborating with R. Birdsey of the U.S. Forest Service on an invited chapter on carbon management on public lands for a new volume on land use and carbon cycling.