Estimation of CO2 emissions in the life cycle of roads through the disruption and restoration of environmental systems



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Barandica, Jesús M. and Delgado Sáez, Juan Antonio and Berzosa, Álvaro and Fernández Sánchez, Gonzalo and Serrano Talavera, José Manuel and Martín Zorrila, Juan Vicente (2014) Estimation of CO2 emissions in the life cycle of roads through the disruption and restoration of environmental systems. Ecological Engineering, 71 . pp. 154-164. ISSN 0925-8574

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Effects of disruption and restoration of terrestrial ecosystems have been largely overlooked when conducting assessments of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inroadconstructionprojects. This is animportant oversight given the intensive land-conversion generated by linear infrastructure development, as well as the relevance given to carbon pool variations associated with land use and land-use changes by national inventories of GHG emissions and global reports. This paper describes the implementation of a methodology to classify those environmental systems in land-uses categories, to determine their carbon stocks (vegetationandsoil), andto quantifyCO2 emissions andremoval relatedto theirmanagement atthedifferent stages of road construction projects. The procedure is illustrated through its application in the impact assessment of road projects in the territory of Spain. This methodology integrates currently available information on carbon stocks and considers the accounting criteria adopted in national GHG emissions inventories. It is intended to constitute part of an integral assessment tool for GHG emissions in linear infrastructure projects. Four case studies are presented in which emissions from the disruption of environmental systems range from 0.55 to 3.66 kT CO2 km−1. This represents 5 to 13% of the total emissions in the construction stage, and 3.5 to 7% of the net CO2 balance, i.e., once the initial carbon sequestration by restoration planting has been discounted. Results also indicate that under ideal conditions the long-term effect of restoration may even fully offset this impact, though really such conditions are far from being the case in the usual development of plantations. This study confirms the advisability of systematically incorporating the analysis of land use and land-use changes into the assessment of GHG emissions of road projects for consideration in decision-making from the design stage to the maintenance stage in such projects.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Road projects; GHG emissions; Carbon stocks; Land-use change; Environmental impact; Emission assessment tool
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Ecology
Medical sciences > Biology > Environment
ID Code:47827
Deposited On:31 May 2018 07:32
Last Modified:31 May 2018 07:32

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