Document Type



Acknowledgements: Jennifer Powell, Tim Gode ,Linda Moskalyk , Cloudbridge Nature Reserve, Western Kentucky University, Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Sciences

Undergraduate Co-Authors: Wendy Cecil, Jackson Chumbler, Leah Nofsinger; The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science


Forests hold an important place in offsetting carbon emissions, absorbing nearly 40 percent of man-made fossil fuel emissions every year. Over the last 100 years, the effects of deforestation have crippled our forest’s ability to store excess carbon, leading to drastic atmospheric change. Efforts to regrow deforested forests have increased rapidly to address issues like climate change. There is thus a need to analyze current efforts at regaining carbon storage, a critical component to maintaining atmospheric homeostasis. Accordingly, we traveled to the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve in San Gerardo, Costa Rica to aggregate data on the carbon storage capabilities across three different forest successions; untampered old growth, naturally regenerated deforested growth and reforested growth. Using allometry we were able to estimate the average carbon storages of three different land plots in each type of growth. We concluded that the reforested plots of the forest had surpassed the natural regeneration plots in terms of carbon storage by a factor of two, and that the planting of larger, rooted, climax species correlates to higher carbon storage. This research can be used to support reforestation (especially of climax species) as a means of reducing carbon emissions, and to advocate against the deforestation of forests.

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Martin Stone