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Our Contributions to Cornell's Sustainable Campus

Below are highlights of how Cornell Plantations' Natural Areas contribute to Cornell's Sustainable Campus initiative:

In order to determine the annual carbon sequestration rate of Plantations holdings, the natural areas program completed a natural community type and age mapping inventory of our managed lands.  The effort determined that our natural areas sequester approximately 4,207 metric tons of CO2 each year, offsetting more than 15% of the carbon dioxide emitted by faculty and staff commuting to work each year. 

Cornell researchers have implemented a study to measure the effects of various forest management treatments that are aimed at maximizing carbon sequestration. In the study, Plantations Natural Areas will be utilized as crucial base-line reference or "control" sites, to contrast carbon sequestration rates across treatments. 

The inventory process also provided data about the types and acreages of our natural area holdings, which will be useful as a baseline for evaluating community changes over time.  The inventory identified the following natural community types, listed in decending order of abundance: Hemlock northern hardwood, successional forest, Appalachian oak-hickory, beech maple mesic forest, successional old field, maple basswood rich mesic forest, floodplain forest, hemlock hardwood swamp, conifer plantation, rich hemlock-hardwood peat swamp, successional shrubland, shrub swamp, shallow emergent marsh, deep emergent marsh, chestnut oak-kalmia type forest, successional old field-mowed, pitch pine oak forest, red maple-hardwood swamp, wet meadow, highbush blueberry bog thicket, dwarf shrub bog, beaver meadow, field (hay), cliff and talus community, red maple-tamarack peat swamp, sloping rich fen, riverside sand/gravel bar, sedge meadow, mowed lawn, perched swamp white oak swamp, natural pond, and vernal pool.

Some of these protected communities can be visited on campus, and include such iconic sites as Beebe LakeFall Creek GorgeCascadilla Gorge, and the Mundy Wildflower preserve.  Others can be found amoung our 22 off campus natural areas, and include sites such as McLean Bog, Fisher Old Growth Forest, Salt Road Fen, and Dunlop Meadow

For more information, visit our Natural Areas Profiles or contact Todd Bittner, Plantations Natural Areas Director at