Carbon Sequestration of Eastside Neighborhood Trees

Tun Myint, Carleton College, Northfield, MN
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This material was developed as part of the Carleton Teaching Activity Collection and is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


This project seeks to investigate the science of carbon sequestration of urban trees so as to evaluate whether there would be potential benefits to the public for reducing GHG emission to the atmosphere. The central question this project seeks to answer is: how many trees are needed in the Eastside Neighborhood of Northfield, MN in order to absorb all carbon dioxide emitted by human activities in the residential area. In answering this question, the team will investigate social, economic, legal, and political dimensions of this carbon sequestration of trees in the neighborhood.

Learning Goals

There are three learning goals for this project:
  1. to understand the science of carbon sequestration;
  2. to understand economic, legal, political, and social dimensions of urban forest which are meaningful not only for human residents but also for a whole host of living animals and insects; and
  3. to understand dynamic linkages between science and society relating to urban forest and carbon sequestration.

Context for Use

This is for a team project of four to six students with different disciplinary interests and strengths. Designed for advanced undergraduate course. Field, library, and informal interview researches are involved.

Description and Teaching Materials

Students will conduct a mini-field research to collect numbers of trees, sizes, and species in one block within Eastside Neighborhood in Northfield, MN. Using this sample, they will estimate trees for entire neighborhood based on this sample. They will use the documents from course website .
Project Guidelines (Acrobat (PDF) 120kB Apr28 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

I provide a brief description in my syllabus. More detailed project guideline is provided in the second week of the term when teams select the project.


Team presentation and final co-authored paper are assessed to judge their performance.

References and Resources