Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.10.013
Title (Primary) The carbon footprint of urban green space - a life cycle approach
Author Strohbach, M.W.; Arnold, E.; Haase, D.
Journal Landscape and Urban Planning
Year 2012
Department CLE
Volume 104
Issue 2
Page From 220
Page To 229
Language englisch
Keywords Carbon sequestration; Urban forestry; Life cycle assessment; Urban decline; Urban reconstruction

Cities play an important role in the global carbon cycle. They produce a large proportion of CO2 emissions, but they also sequester and store carbon in urban forests and green space. However, sequestration by urban green space is difficult to quantify and also involves emissions. The carbon footprint analysis is an established method for systematically quantifying carbon sinks and sources throughout the lifetime of goods and services. We applied this method to an urban green space project in Leipzig, Germany. To the best of our knowledge it is the first application in this field. We simulated carbon sequestration by growing trees and contrasted it with all related carbon sources, from construction and maintenance over the lifetime of 50 years. In addition, we explored alternative design and maintenance scenarios. Total net sequestration was predicted to be between 137 and 162 MgCO2 ha−1. Park-like design and maintenance is less effective than forest-like design and maintenance. Much uncertainty is linked to tree growth and tree mortality. Increasing annual tree mortality from 0.5 to 4% reduces sequestration by over 70%. In conclusion, urban green space can act as a carbon sink and the design and maintenance have a strong influence on the carbon footprint. The carbon footprint analysis is a valuable tool for estimating the long-term environmental performance of urban green space projects. Compared to emissions from people, the overall potential for carbon mitigation is limited, even in cities such as Leipzig with widely available space for new urban green space.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Strohbach, M.W., Arnold, E., Haase, D. (2012):
The carbon footprint of urban green space - a life cycle approach
Landsc. Urban Plan. 104 (2), 220 - 229