Forest and grassland ecosystems play a critical role in the global carbon cycle. The forests of the Pacific Northwest, renowned for their productivity, hold globally significant carbon stores. Land managers have identified carbon dynamics in land and watershed management as one of the region’s top priority science needs; and interest is ramping up among legislators, conservation organizations, and the timber industry to better understand the significance of forest carbon and how it interacts with other forest management objectives and practices.
The USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station is a leader in carbon research and accounting, with unique expertise and years of ongoing work in this field. In 2019, the station launched a research initiative to enhance policy-relevant understanding of carbon flux and carbon accounting, and fill knowledge gaps about forest carbon dynamics.
In early September 2019, the PNW Research Station convened a workshop, Carbon Dynamics for Land and Watershed Stewards, in Portland, Oregon. The goal of the event was to bring together land managers and scientists to identify the most pressing management needs that can be informed by carbon science.
As we heard over the 4 days of the workshop, individual U.S. states and Canadian provinces take different approaches to studying and managing forests. Different jurisdictions, carbon inventory methodologies, and policy environments have kept the Pacific coast in a patchwork of approaches, with no avenue for working together to bolster efforts and share knowledge. There is, however, broad agreement that forest carbon is a high-priority topic.
The workshop encouraged scientists and forest and rangeland managers to work together to uncover challenging issues as well as science needs that could enable solutions. Conversations centered on learning from each other and improving shared stewardship among scientists, land managers, and decisionmakers across the region.
The summary document below includes recollections, photos, and art to tell the story of the unconventional convening techniques used in this workshop in an effort to change how scientists and land stewards communicate.
Oregon forest carbon policy by Andrew Yost (PDF 180 KB)
Click on the preview below to view the 3/11/2019 webinar, which provides background on the Carbon Research Initiative. It also includes the following science presentations on existing carbon-related research:
Click on the preview below to view the 1/21/2020 webinar, which summarizes progress to date, including a recap of the September 2019 stakeholder workshop.