This project was performed in conjunction with the Natural Areas Conservancy’s urban forests carbon assessment program. Thirty sites were selected from 3 different parks in Indianapolis. The sites were selected to represent the different forest types including upland mesic forest on morainal soils, poorly drain flatwoods on morainal soils, floodplain forests on alluvial soils, and uplands forests on glacial outwash soils. In each of these forest types, high, medium, and low-quality plots were selected to compare forest quality with carbon storage. There were 18 sites at Eagle Creek Park, six sites at Marott Park, and 6 sites at Southwestway Park.
All trees within a 10-meter radius of the center of each plot were measured for diameter and identified to species. All downed wood exceeding 10 cm in diameter was also measured. Finally, a soil sample to a 30 cm depth was also taken to be analyzed.
The data was analyzed by the Natural Areas Conservancy and shared with Indy Stewardship. The study showed that of the top 10 plots for carbon storage, 8 were in plots designated as high quality. Carbon storage was highest in the mesic upland forests, followed by mesic floodplain, flatwoods, and outwash forest types.
The results for Indianapolis were found to be similar to other cities sampled in the eastern deciduous forests. This knowledge enables scientists to quantify the carbon stored in our urban forests to further our understanding of the importance of urban natural areas.