Carbon Sequestering

Approximately 64 acres of the Park are wooded, of which approximately 46 acres are young deciduous forest (less than 50 years old). The IMA’s Horticulture Department has collected tree and understory canopy data with the purpose of understanding the benefits of the Park within its urban environment.

In recent years the IMA has made a commitment to the Indianapolis community to become more conscientious stewards of the environment in its pursuit of fulfilling the museum’s mission.

This has been a worthy challenge for an institution to take on within the confines of the museum itself, but we also have the unique position of having 152 acres of gardens and woodland that give us an advantage over many urban institutions when measuring our carbon footprint. In an effort to evaluate that advantage, we turned to a software analysis tool created by the USDA Forest Service called i-Tree.

The intention of i-Tree is to allow communities and other users to assess their current urban forest cover, create awareness and educational opportunities, and guide application for better management of those trees. It has frequently been applied on a city-wide scale, but can also analyze an entire state’s urban forest.The results are based on field data collected from random plots, accounting for tree species, height, trunk diameter, and canopy characteristics.The data is then entered into the Urban Forest Effects (UFORE) analysis model, which calculates the amount of air pollution removed, the carbon sequestered and stored by the trees, and the sustained economic benefits.

In evaluating the entire IMA campus, we found that an estimated total of 750 tons of carbon is sequestered annually by our tree cover, and over 10 tons of pollutants are removed from the air.