Carbon sequestration and storage potential of urban green in residential yards: A case study from Helsinki

Mari Ariluoma, Juudit Ottelin, Ranja Hautamäki*, Eeva Maria Tuhkanen, Miia Mänttäri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
191 Downloads (Pure)


Cities have been identified as key actors in climate change mitigation. Nature based carbon sinks have been suggested as a means of mitigating the greenhouse gas emissions of cities. Although there are several studies on the carbon storage and sequestration (CSS) of urban green, the role of residential sites is not fully understood. In addition, the carbon storage of soils is often excluded. Also the implications for planning require more attention. This study estimates the CSS potential of trees and biochar in urban residential yards and identifies effective means to enhance it. Moreover, the study discusses the results at the city scale. The research is based on a case study in Helsinki, Finland, and applies i-Tree planting tool to assess the current and potential life cycle CSS of the case area. The results reveal that trees and the mixing of biochar into growing medium can increase the CSS considerably. The CSS potential of the case area is 520 kg CO2 per resident during 50 years. The added biochar accounts for 65 % of the capacity and the biomass of trees accounts for 35 %. At the city scale, it would lead to 330 000 t CO2 being stored during 50 years. The findings suggest that green planning could contribute more strongly to climate change mitigation by encouraging the use of biochar and the planting of trees, in addition to ensuring favourable growing conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126939
Number of pages12
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Biochar
  • Carbon sink
  • Green infrastructure
  • LCA
  • Urban trees
  • Urban yards


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