This project improves the ability to account for and plan for landscape interventions to sequester carbon in the environment. Nature-based carbon sequestration strategies, such as afforestation, rely in part on water availability. It is important to understand water competition between land uses such as carbon sequestration, agriculture production, and potable supplies to evaluate the long-term viability and tradeoffs for local communities. Modeling provides regional scale patterns in response to changing climate and land use, while the finer resolutions provide landscape level estimates appropriate for planning and evaluation of local land management efforts to promote freshwater sustainability and enhance carbon sequestration. The team integrates existing top-down satellite driven watershed models top-down satellite driven watershed models with bottom-up high-resolution biogeochemical process modeling to help understand and scale the connections between water and carbon cycling over the full state of Virginia.

We will use multiple satellite based estimates and process based models to scale coupled water and carbon budgets from the level of ecosystem patches to regional watersheds. While the focus is on Virginia, the watershed basis will overlap into neighboring states. We will use a combination of historical climate estimates, and future scenarios using CMIP5 ensemble climate trajectories. This approach will provide the ability to assess current and future interaction and feedbacks between water and carbon processes, including both co-benefits and unintended consequences of policies designed to increase terrestrial carbon sequestration.