Eldorado National Forest, California. USDA Forest Service photo by Paul Wade.
California is using its forests to combat climate change. Trees absorb and store atmospheric carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas of concern—in woody tissue, leaves, and roots, collectively referred to as forest biomass. More than a century of fire suppression complicates managing forest carbon in California's dry forests. As the climate warms and the number and size of severe wildfire increases, the ability of the state’s forests to store carbon is jeopardized. When forest biomass is burned, the stored carbon is released to the atmosphere.
David Bell, a research forester with the station, and colleagues explored new approaches for measuring forest biomass and developed methods to quantify the trade-off between biomass storage and stability for fire-prone forests. The work was sponsored by the California Natural Resources Agency as part of California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. The report's key outcomes include the following:
Battles, J.J.; Bell, D.M.; Kennedy, R.E., et al. 2018. Innovations in measuring and managing forest carbon stocks in California. California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment. Publication number: CCCA4-CNRA2018-014.California Natural Resources Agency: 99 p. https://www.energy.ca.gov/sites/default/files/2019-07/Forests_CCCA4-CNRA-2018-014.pdf.