Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Age structure and disturbance legacy of North American forests

Informally Refereed
Authors: Y. Pan, J.M. Chen, R. Birdsey, K. McCullough, L. He, F. Deng
Year: 2010
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Northern Research Station
Source: Biogeoscience Discussions. 7: 979-1020.


Most forests of the world are recovering from a past disturbance. It is well known that forest disturbances profoundly affect carbon stock and fluxes in forest ecosystems, yet it has been a great challenge to assess disturbance impacts in estimates of forest carbon budgets. Net sequestration or loss of CO2 by forests after disturbance follows a predictable pattern with forest recovery. Forest age, which is related to time since disturbance, is the most available surrogate variable for various forest carbon analyses that concern the impact of disturbance. In this study, we compiled the first continental forest age map of North America by combining forest inventory data, historical fire data, optical satellite data and the dataset from NASA's LEDAPS project.


Pan, Y.; Chen, J.M.; Birdsey, R.; McCullough, K.; He, L.; Deng, F. 2010. Age structure and disturbance legacy of North American forests. Biogeosciences Discussions. 7(1): 979-1020.