The Carbon Sequestration Potential of Auroville

In 2022 a GHG emission baseline for Auroville was established. The inventory highted the overall emissions from the community. This report now intends to assess the sequestration capabilities of Auroville land under tree cover for a five-year period from February 2017 to February 2022. The tree cover in Auroville is a prime contributor to the community’s long-term vision of sustainable development. The overall tree cover includes the residential zones, industrial zones, parks, public spaces and the designated green belt area of Auroville developed and maintained by the Forest Group of Auroville.

The cumulative carbon stock for Auroville’s land under tree cover of 920 hectares for the time period from February 2017 to February 2022 was estimated at 34,778 tCO2e. This equals an average carbon stock addition of 6,956 tCO2e per year. The average carbon stock per hectare of forest land in Tamil Nadu was estimated at 87.26 tCO2e/year. The average carbon stock per hectare over five years for the Auroville forest was found to be 99.96 tCO2e/year which is 14.55% above the average.

As per the Auroville Greenhouse Gas Accounting Report, Auroville produced 8,298.54 tCO2e in FY 2018- 2019, this excludes emissions from agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFLOU) and industrial production and product use (IPPU). Auroville’s green cover sequestered 84% of its total emission or 6,956 tCO2e per year. The surplus CO2e emitted for FY 2018-19 therefore is 1,343 tCO2e or 16%. To offset this carbon an additional 19.82 hectare of land would need to be converted from moderately dense forest to very dense forest. This could also be achieved by installing a 1.19 MW solar energy capacity or by transitioning all units to low or zero emission transport solutions.

Consistent studies either on a yearly or bi-yearly basis can help improve accuracy of emissions tracking and sequestration numbers of the community and help set targets. This would lead to additional financing opportunities and access to voluntary mechanisms such  as carbon financing to support existing forestry activities.

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