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Key Objective: 7.5 Increase Carbon Sequestration

The 2015 iCAP, chapter 7, objective 5 is "Increase carbon sequestration in campus soils by determining the sequestration value of existing plantings and identifying locations for additional plantings, with a specific objective of converting at least 50 acres of U of I farmland to agroforestry by FY20."

Associated Metric

7.5 Total acres of agroforestry (Tracked by Fiscal Year)

Annotations

  • FY 2008:

    Includes the Illini Grove, the South Arboretum Woods, and the Forestry Tract

  • FY 2013:

    Added Woody Perennial Polyculture site at Sustainable Student Farm

  • FY 2015:

    Added Multifunctional Woody Polyculture at Energy Farm

  • FY 2018:

    Forestry Tract additional area

Potential Strategies

The campus should actively investigate means of sequestering carbon in the soils of our campus.  Campus could determine the sequestration value of existing plantings and identify locations for additional plantings, with a specific objective of converting at least 50 acres of U of I farmland to agroforestry by FY20.  Some avenues to be explored include:

·         Completing an inventory of trees and other plantings on the main campus, to determine the carbon sequestration already occurring and to guide future plantings to maximize sequestration.

·         Investigating the production and use of biochar as a soil amendment, which increases agricultural production while also sequestering carbon.

·         Assessing the sequestration of perennial crops on the South Farms, including the extensive plantings at the Energy Farm.

·         Developing agroforestry, or woody perennial polyculture, as a means to sequester carbon while simultaneously producing energy crops (e.g., wood from coppicing poplars) and/or food crops (e.g., hazelnuts and fruits) and also providing valuable ecosystem services.  A project has just been funded by iSEE to convert 30 acres of traditional crops to a perennial polyculture research site.

Associated Project(s)

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