CLEAR 2014 Webinar Series

Loss of Carbon Sequestration from Land Use Change in Connecticut

Running Time: 00:53:04


Greenhouse inventories (GHG) estimate levels of emissions which are scientifically understood as the human-induced basis for climate change. GHG inventories ideally resemble balance sheets indicating both emissions sources and carbon “sinks” that remove atmospheric CO2 via long-term carbon storage in vegetation cover, soils, and forests. Like all New England states, Connecticut over the past decades has seen a loss of its beneficial carbon sinks due to land converted from forested and vegetated landscape to areas of sprawling regional development, to the detriment of state efforts to combat climate change. To date, carbon sinks have been omitted from GHG inventories due to insufficient accounting methods, leading policy-makers to undervalue Connecticut’s forests and open spaces as agents of regional climate stabilization. 

Linda Powers Tomasso explored the problem of carbon sink accounting in her graduate thesis research using CLEAR’s twenty-five years of satellite monitored land use data. In this webinar, Linda will walk us through her research findings, explaining state land cover change and its relation to the loss of carbon storage and sequestration which help keep emissions rises in check. Her accounting methods propose a new use for CLEAR land cover data, with surprisingly robust results, leaving us with the question:  should forest conservation garner greater attention and public funding as a cost effective mitigator against climate change?    


Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson

Geospatial Educator
(860) 345-5226

Emily Wilson is a Geospatial Educator at CLEAR. Since joining UConn in 2000, her role has been to provide GIS and remote sensing information and support to CLEAR programs including the NEMO Program, the Geospatial Training Program and other related research and outreach efforts. Emily does a significant amount of work on the CT ECO and CLEAR websites with the goal of providing easy access to geospatial information and maps.

Emily is a graduate of Connecticut College with a BA in environmental science and botany. She received her M.S. in forestry and remote sensing from the University of Maine.

Linda Tomasso

Linda Powers Tomasso is a recent graduate of the Harvard University Extension School’s Program in Sustainability and Environmental Management. With a master in international policy from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a B.A. in American Studies from Notre Dame, she has a long-range view of global policy dynamics as they impact change. Linda’s first career in public diplomacy as U.S. Foreign Service Officer took her to San Jose, Costa Rica; Italy, and Washington, D.C. 

Linda has consulted on sustainable projects for the Global Forest Trade Network, Earth Asset Partnerships, and other international development organizations. Her experience at the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection analyzing state climate change legislation inspired her graduate thesis research on state-level greenhouse inventories and the need to account for land use change and forestry in emissions accounting.  She continues to explore this topic as an environmental policy researcher at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health, focusing on regional land use and the building sector as it applies to China’s urbanization.