Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2023

Department 1

Environmental Studies


Human-caused climate change creates a positive feedback loop that emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere instead of being sequestered in the Earth or its oceans. A major contributor to this feedback loop is deforestation in order to use land for agriculture and livestock. This study aims to investigate differences in carbon sequestration capabilities of forests, pastures, and cropland through soil and tree sampling in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The main hypothesis of this study is that forested land will be the most effective at carbon sequestration. The loss on ignition method (LOI) was used to determine the percent organic material in the soil for each land type. The soil in the forest sequestered the most CO2 per unit area at 0.012 tons/m2, followed by the pasture at 0.010 tons/m2, and finally the cropland at 0.009 tons/m2. When including the trees in the total carbon sequestered per unit area the carbon sequestered per unit area was 0.109 tons/m2 with average carbon sequestered per tree being 43644.4 pounds (21.8 tons). These results have implications for land management practices being used to mitigate climate change, as the different land covers sequestered significantly different amounts of CO2.


Written for ES 400: Seminar in Environmental Studies