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Tag: GHG

New Features in the LEARN Tool Expand Functionality for Assessing GHG Emissions from Land Use

As the effects of a warming climate become more apparent, it’s increasingly important to consider ways to mitigate the impact of greenhouse gases on the atmosphere. Forests play a key role in the climate crisis, as about a third of human emitted greenhouse gases are sequestered in trees and forests. Analyzing the impact these forests and tress have using land use and land cover change data is a great way for municipalities to get a read on the effects of greenhouse gas emissions in their own communities.

LEARN Tool ScreenShot 6

Blue Raster is pleased to release the new build for the LEARN (Land Emissions and Removals Navigator) Tool. Built in partnership with Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) and the World Resources Institute (WRI), the LEARN Tool allows for community inventorying of the effects of land use change on greenhouse gas emissions. This tool empowers policy makers, local governments, and community members to make informed decisions on environmental and climate policy.  Blue Raster developed the LEARN Tool to address a significant gap in existing carbon accounting methods. Traditionally, previously analyses have focused on measuring their emissions from energy and transportation sectors, while the emissions and removals from land-use change and forestry have been overlooked. However, these land-based emissions and removals are responsible for a significant proportion of the carbon footprint, particularly in rural areas.

LEARN Tool ScreenShot 1

The LEARN Tool simplifies the process of assessing a community's net greenhouse gas balance. Users can quickly select their area of interest by searching for a municipality name or uploading their own shapefile. With intuitive sliders, users can configure their desired land cover and tree canopy data and choose data for forest and land cover change between 2001 and 2019, as well as data for trees outside of forests for the selected time frame. The analysis is generated for the chosen location and time frame, and users can compare their results against other cities and municipalities. The tool provides emission factors, removal factors, and harvested wood products as view factors for the selected comparison area, with the option to download the results as a PDF or CSV file.

The latest version of the LEARN Tool comes packed with new features that improve its functionality. Users now have access to 1m Tree Canopy Data within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay Program and Chesapeake Conservancy, providing users with valuable insights into how trees and forests impact greenhouse gas inventories. The inventory period configuration screen has also been upgraded with new toggle widgets, offering users greater flexibility in selecting between 30m and 1m data in their analyses. These new features enhance the user experience and expand the tool's capabilities, making it even more valuable for communities looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Blue Raster is excited to roll out this tool in its final form to benefit communities across the country.


Software used: ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Image Server, Esri JavaScript API

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Carbon Benefits Calculator

Most of our daily activities create greenhouse gas emissions which exacerbate climate change. Organizations like the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) spearhead efforts to mitigate these negative impacts by funding initiatives that offset emissions and create a greener earth. Blue Raster partnered with NFWF to create a robust Carbon Benefits Calculator. This tool estimates and visualizes the carbon impact of past and planned conservation efforts, restoration, and improved land management activities of NFWF.

NFWF Carbon Benefits Tool

NFWF wanted to innovate and optimize their existing in-house carbon calculator tool that was hosted in Excel. Blue Raster understands the need for a spatially explicit, robust tool that provides real-time calculations and eliminates hard-coded values to improve usability and usefulness. Additionally, this new tool enables NFWF to assess activities in various locations over different time series quickly and easily.

Our team created a web application backed by geoprocessing services in Python scripts. The tool allows a user to upload a spatial polygon for an area of interest to calculate carbon benefits, expanding the previous functionality that only allowed analysis at the county level. These calculations are done with python logic and geoprocessing services that are uploaded to ArcGIS Enterprise. Converting the tool from a spreadsheet-based calculator to a real-time and streamlined web application allowed for faster, easier, and more comparable results.

This tool uses various raster datasets including national land cover and carbon stocks to calculate the different properties and values such as climate, location, size, carbon stock, and land cover of the user submitted area of interest. Then, the tool automatically takes those values from the raster data and calculates the carbon benefits that would result from the selected project. NFWF can use this tool to estimate the carbon benefits of various projects and events such as invasive species clearing, crop and livestock use, thinning, fires, land transformations, over a 30-year period.

Previously, Blue Raster built out the Where We Work web map for NFWF to help illustrate the extensive geographic reach of their mission and impact of their conservation programs. Also, we built a proposal reviewer application and aided in NFWF's ArcGIS Enterprise installation.

We are excited to continue our collaborative efforts and work with a long-time partner by supporting NFWF with the Carbon Benefits Calculator and ongoing conservation efforts.

Ready to find out more?

We are excited to be a part of another non-profit's ongoing conservation and restoration efforts! Contact us today to learn how we can help your organization.


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