Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Natural Resources

First Advisor

Jenkins, Jennifer


As interest grows in mitigating atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, there is an increasing need to understand the factors that determine fluxes of carbon (C) to and from the atmosphere. This project quantifies the natural and anthropogenic sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2 on a county scale. In collaboration with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation's (HBRF's) Sciencelinks Carbon Group, a net C budget for Chittenden County, Vermont has been created, with key C sources and sinks categorized in terms of land use. The primary goal of the budget is to provide up-to-date and accurate decisionmaking information to planners and policy-makers in the county, allowing the most tangible benefits to be gained from mitigation efforts. This project creates and tests a methodology that is easily replicable in any county in the United States. This methodology will facilitate the process of developing county-level C balance data beyond Vermont and the Northeast. This study suggests that Chittenden County is a net sink for C; 1.12 Tg C accumulate per year in the county's biomass and soils while 0.418 Tg C are emitted each year through anthropogenic activity within the county. C emitted in the manufacture of imported products is not considered. This work contributes to a larger ongoing study by the HBRF which compares C emissions and sequestration among seven counties representing different patterns of land use.