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Assessing the Carbon Sequestration Potential of Roadsides and Roadside Revegetation

Started: August, 2011 Ended: December, 2012 Project ID #4W3748 Status: Completed


The objective of this project is to develop a method to determine the carbon sequestration potential of roadsides and roadside revegetation. WTI estimated the amount of acreage available and the amount of carbon sequestration captured and stored along eight federal land management agencies’ roads.


Climate change has been attributed to increased concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. The primary methods to reduce atmospheric CO2 are through the reduction of emissions, the capture and storage of CO2 to prevent its release into the atmosphere, and the absorption of atmospheric CO2 by vegetation and soil. Growing native revegetation along the roadsides and using vegetation disturbed during the construction of the road may present an opportunity to increase the absorption of CO2 through transportation projects. A variety of forest and agricultural practices have proven effective at increasing carbon sequestration (e.g., reforestation, no till cropping, changing grazing practices). However, the amount of carbon storage by vegetation and soils in U.S. highway right-of-ways (ROWs) is unknown, and the potential for increasing carbon storage in ROW vegetation and soils has not been articulated. Much of what is being learned in agriculture and forestry may be applicable to roadsides. Through this project, WTI will conduct a “carbon audit” for the Coordinated Technology Implementation Program (CTIP) of the Federal Lands Highway division of FHWA, which will include an evaluation of the carbon sequestration potential of roadsides and roadside revegetation, and identification of roadside management strategies that increase carbon storage or decrease CO2 emissions.


  • Rob Ament - PI

  • Amit Armstrong - Main External Contact

Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Sponsor

Part of: Road Ecology

Project Tagged In: carbon sequestration, climate change, federal land management agency, greenhouse gas emissions, public roads, road effect zone, roadside vegetation

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