Forest Health

View an infographic connecting the Forests and carbon
(Click the image to view an infographic on U.S. Forests and carbon)

Managing carbon in a forest is not the same as managing the forest for carbon. Carbon management is one part of sustainable land management.

Forest and grassland management makes good sense through the lens of carbon storage. But we have not fully clarified or featured their carbon storage impacts and benefits.

  1. Keeping forests as forests is one of the most cost-effective carbon storage measures.
  2. Restoration, getting badly disturbed forests and grasslands back to producing a full range of environmental services, is another.
  3. Ensuring rapid regeneration after disturbance is especially important for retaining carbon in the forest landscape.
  4. Maintaining forest health through appropriate fire, insect, disease, and invasive species management also has strong carbon storage and protection benefits.

Understanding the consequences of harvesting, thinning, and other vegetation management practices on forest carbon cycles will become more important as we evaluate options. Even though practices such as thinning and prescribed fire may release carbon in the short term, they focus growth and storage for the future on trees that are at lower risk and/or more resilient to disturbance.

Region 9 Eastern Region Carbon Assessment: