Sheffner, Edwin (NASA, Washington DC, Mail Stop 5L79, NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW, WashingtonDC, 20546; Phone: 202-358-0239; Email:


Collaboration Between NASA and USDA for Carbon Management.


E. Sheffner *, R.A. Birdsey, C.S. Potter


In May 2203, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the US Department of Agriculture signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the transfer of NASA Earth science capabilities (observations, measurements, model output and systems engineering) to USDA agencies to assist those agencies meet their operational mandates. One of five focus areas identified in the MOU is carbon management. The MOU is being implemented through an interagency working group. Collaborative projects addressing carbon management have emerged from the working group and from solicitations sponsored by NASA and USDA. Carbon management is the re-distribution of carbon in terrestrial and aquatic environments through the implementation of policies that affect carbon emissions and sequestration. NASA contributes to carbon management through the Applied Sciences Program of the Earth-Sun System Division. The Program extends the use of NASA research results in the carbon cycle to enhance the decision support tools of NASA's operational partners with monitoring and policy mandates regarding carbon emissions and sequestration. Among the tools that have emerged from NASA's research program with potential impact on carbon management is CQUEST. CQUEST stands for "Carbon Query and Evaluation Support Tools. CQUEST is an internet accessible set of tools for estimating and monitoring terrestrial carbon sequestration. It is now being evaluated in projects co-funded by NASA and USDA in agriculture and forestry. The forestry project will evaluate the CQUEST, and the CASA (Carnegie-Ames-Stanford Approach) ecosystem model on which it's based, at a network of experimental forests to track forest disturbance and re-growth. CQUEST can provide complementary information to ground-based forest models to enhance decision support for forest managers to estimate and report carbon stocks.