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PRESTO Wood Carbon Calculator

Overview & Applicability

Forest carbon is stored in harvested wood products. However many forest carbon calculators do not include a harvested wood products category, and estimating the amount of carbon in this pool can be cumbersome. PRESTO (PRoduct EStimation Tool Online) lets users estimate the carbon stored in harvested wood products and the changes in this quantity over time, using some basic details about a harvest. Users need to register to use the tool, however registration is free.

A snapshot showing the PRESTO interface

PRESTO provides general carbon storage estimates for wood products based on geographic region, wood type, and harvest volume.

History

PRESTO was developed by scientists with the USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station and was released in 2014. The tool is based on the published study Methods for calculating forest ecosystem and harvested carbon with standard estimates for forest types of the United States. PRESTO is based on the methods and ratios that were developed to support voluntary greenhouse gas reporting; these methods are consistent with the IPCC guidance on harvested wood products.

Inputs and Outputs

Inputs include a few basic measurements about the harvested stand, including:

  • U.S. region in which the stand is located (drop-down list)
  • Size of the stand in Acres or Hectares
  • Actual volume of sawlogs and pulpwood harvested, or the relative proportion of sawlogs and pulpwood in the total harvest. This information is needed for hardwood and softwood.
  • Notes or descriptive terms to identify each separate stand.

There is also an option to upload data for several different stand in batch mode. A template helper to help format data correctly for batch upload is available at http://presto.essa.com/Stands/StandBatch.aspx.

Outputs include several calculated carbon estimates expressed in tonnes per hectare. Calculated values include total carbon storage after 100 years (C100) and average annual carbon storage (CAvg) for:

  • Products: End-use products that have not been discarded or otherwise destroyed, such as construction products, containers, and paper products.
  • Landfill: Discarded wood and paper products in landfills.
  • Stored: The sum of Products and Landfill
  • EnergyCapture: Combustion of wood products with energy capture as the carbon is emitted to the atmosphere (e.g. production of energy from forest products that could offset energy production from another source – also called Energy).
  • NoCapture: Carbon in harvested wood emitted to the atmosphere through combustion or
  • decay without energy recapture (also called Emissions).

A 10 Year Report is also produced, which shows carbon storage calculations in 10-year increments, so you can see how carbon storage changes over time for each of the five storage categories. All calculations can be exported to Excel.

Restrictions and Limitations

Please note that the carbon ratios that PRESTO uses were developed as general ratios for each region, compiled from available data. Species-specific ratios were not developed as the available data sets would be too small to produce values that could be widely applied. As with any calculator, the results are only as good as the data entered – the tool will not flag or correct extreme values that have been entered mistakenly.

Accessing the tool and additional information

Register for and access the tool at http://presto.essa.com

Detailed guidance can be found in PRESTO: online calculation of carbon in harvested wood products: http://www.fs.fed.us/nrs/pubs/gtr/gtr_nrs141.pdf

Fast Facts

Website

http://presto.essa.com

Purpose

PRESTO allows land managers and landowners to estimate the amount of carbon stored in harvested wood products. Carbon estimates are based on harvest volume, geographic region, and wood type.

Output

1) A Stand Details report that gives estimates of carbon storage in tonnes per hectare for total carbon storage after 100 years (C100) and average annual carbon storage (CAvg). Estimates are given for five different storage categories. 2) A 10- year report which shows carbon storage calculations in 10-year increments for each of the five storage categories. Calculations can be exported to Excel.

Developed by

USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station. The tool is based on this published study Methods for calculating forest ecosystem and harvested carbon with standard estimates for forest types of the United States.

Format

Online interface; registration is free but required.

Geography

Conterminous United States

Scale (range)

Forest Stand

Training Requirement

1 (on a scale of 1-3). Minimal time investment (<2 hours).

Status

Based on published literature. The methods used are consistent with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Good Practice Guidance, as well as U.S. voluntary carbon accounting guideline.

Potential Applications

Including harvested wood products in carbon accounting and carbon credits, exploring the carbon impacts of changing the amounts of longer- and shorter-lived wood products for a given forest stand.

Caveats, Restrictions

The ratios that PRESTO uses for estimating carbon in wood products were developed as general ratios for each region, compiled from available data. Species-specific ratios were not developed. Results depend on the quality of the data entered – the tool will not flag or correct extreme values that have been entered mistakenly.

https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/tool/presto-wood-carbon-calculator