Estimates of above-ground tree carbon after projected land-use and land cover change in a subtropical urban watershed
This study investigates the effect of land-use and land cover (LULC) change on above-ground tree carbon (AGTC) in a subbasin of the Tampa Bay Watershed, Florida. LULC change was integrated with AGTC to project future quantities under three landscape scenarios: baseline, increased and aggressive rates of development. A 12% increase in total landscape AGTC occurred from 2006 to 2011 as agriculture and rangeland were converted to residential, infrastructure and built classes. Scenario projections for 2016 show an additional increase of 11% AGTC under baseline change, 15% under increased development and 18% under aggressive development. These results suggest that residential expansion may cause an increase in AGTC storage as agriculture and rangeland areas are replaced. However, as agriculture and rangeland disappear, LULC change patterns could shift, with residential expansion replacing upland and wetland forested areas causing a long-term decrease in AGTC. These results show that biomass of the tree component of AGTC can be significant, in and of itself, for urban classes and provide insights into its role in AGTC dynamics for these systems. This information can also help decision-makers identify areas as potential carbon sources or sinks.