Emissions from how land is used and maintained is an important consideration for the Northfield community. The development patterns of land can dictate transportation and building density, creating barriers and opportunities for where people live and how they travel. More compact land use with adequate options for non-motorized travel or transit can help reduce emissions from transportation. Conversely, low-density land use patterns that are designed for the movement of vehicles will create an auto-centric community that results in higher emissions. Greenhouse gases can also be stored or emitted depending on specific land use and cover.
Land cover is the physical material on Earth’s surface, like trees, grass, pavement, or buildings. Undeveloped land, natural areas, and wetlands all provide important carbon benefits by capturing and storing the gas in plant matter and soils. Disturbing natural areas through land conversion (e.g., development, agricultural practices) releases the stored carbon, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions.