Duke Forest Carbon
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Duke University is dedicated to achieving climate neutrality by 2024. With over 7000 acres of sustainably managed forest land, the Duke Forest has great potential for generating “in house” carbon offsets to help reach this goal. In this project we quantified the carbon represented in Duke’s forest holdings and analyzed the potential for generating emissions-reducing offsets based on Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and American Carbon Registry (ACR) protocols. Throughout the process we focused on three varieties of forest offsets: Avoided Conversion, Improved Forest Management, and Afforestation/Reforestation, comparing the relative advantages and disadvantages of each under CAR and ACR carbon accounting systems. After completing these carbon calculations we conducted a financial analysis of our results in order to make recommendations to the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative concerning how they might apply these forest offsets toward the university’s carbon neutrality goal. Ultimately we concluded that the Duke Forest has the potential to produce significant amounts of high quality carbon offsets at a cost considerably below that of purchasing them on the voluntary market. The generation of Improved Forest Management offsets under CAR protocols proved particularly compatible with current Duke Forest management practices, yielding substantial carbon and financial benefits with minimal project development investment. Based on the results of our carbon and financial models we determined that the Duke Forest could generate 358,109 offset credits over the next 50 years, saving the university over $1.5 million.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment