At a Glance
Integrating the campus tree canopy into the University carbon neutral strategy has heightened awareness of this valuable resource and increased support for sustainable forest management.
As an educational institution, Lehigh University recognizes the unique responsibility and opportunity it has to lead the region in addressing the challenges associated with global climate change. Blessed with both a mature landscape tree cover and a legacy forest of over 600 acres, the University wished to understand the potential carbon mitigation benefits associated with this dynamic resource. In pursuit of this objective, Biohabitats performed a forest inventory that quantified both the current level of carbon stored in tree biomass and the annual sequestration rate resulting from tree growth. As properly sited landscape plants can have a significant impact on building energy use and the subsequent emissions of greenhouse gases, Biohabitats also quantified the impact of the landscape tree canopy on avoided emissions of atmospheric carbon.
In order to assure that this asset continues to provide a net positive impact on greenhouse gas levels, Biohabitats determined the key ecological threats to forest sustainability at Lehigh and provided recommendations for remedial interventions. Biohabitats also identified opportunities for forest enhancement and the greater integration of the woodland into campus life. Managing the campus tree cover for multiple benefits helps assure the University the greatest return on its investment in forest conservation.