Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    Forest inventory data supplemented with data from intensive research sites and models were used to estimate carbon stocks and sequestration rates in U.S. forests, including effects of land use change. Data on the production of wood products and emission from decomposition were used to estimate carbon stocks and sequestration rates in wood products and landfills. From 1990 through 2005, the forest sector (including forests and wood products) sequestered an average 162 Tg C year-1. In 2005, 49% of the total forest sector sequestration was in live and dead trees, 27% was in wood products in landfills, with the remainder in down dead wood, wood products in use, and forest floor and soil. The pools with the largest carbon stocks were not the same as those with the largest sequestration rates, except for the tree pool. For example, landfilled wood products comprise only 3% of total stocks but account for 27% of carbon sequestration. Conversely, forest soils comprise 48% of total stocks but account for only 2% of carbon sequestration. For the tree pool, the spatial pattern of carbon stocks was dissimilar to that of carbon flux. On an area basis, tree carbon stocks were highest in the Pacific Northwest, while changes were generally greatest in the upper Midwest and the Northeast. Net carbon sequestration in the forest sector in 2005 offset 10% of U.S. CO2 emissions. In the near future, we project that U.S. forests will continue to sequester carbon at a rate similar to that in recent years. Based on a comparison of our estimates to a compilation of land-based estimates of non-forest carbon sinks from the literature, we estimate that the conterminous U.S. annually sequesters 149?330 Tg C year-1. Forests, urban trees, and wood products are responsible for 65-91% of this sink.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Woodbury, Peter B.; Smith, James E.; Heath, Linda S. 2007. Carbon sequestration in the U.S. forest sector from 1990 to 2010. Forest Ecology and Management. 241: 14-27.


    carbon budget, forest ecosystem, carbon sink, carbon sequestration, land use change

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page