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
    Author(s): Daolan Zheng; Linda S. Heath; Mark J. Ducey; James E. Smith
    Date: 2011
    Source: Environmental Research Letters. 6(1) 014012. 10 p.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (332.57 KB)


    We estimated forest area and carbon changes in the conterminous United States using a remote sensing based land cover change map, forest fire data from the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity program, and forest growth and harvest data from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis Program. Natural and human-associated disturbances reduced the forest ecosystems' carbon sink by 36% from 1992 to 2001, compared to that without disturbances in the 48 states. Among the three identified disturbances, forest-related land cover change contributed 33% of the total effect in reducing the forest carbon potential sink, while harvests and fires accounted for 63% and 4% of the total effect, respectively. The nation's forests sequestered 1.6 ± 0.1 Pg (1015 petagram) carbon during the period, or 0.18 Pg C yr-1, with substantial regional variation. The southern region of the United States was a small net carbon source whereas the greater Pacific Northwest region was a strong net sink. Results of the approach fit reasonably well at an aggregate level with other related estimates of the current forest US greenhouse gas inventory, suggesting that further research using this approach is warranted.

    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.


    Zheng, Daolan; Heath, Linda S.; Ducey, Mark J.; Smith, James E. 2011. Carbon changes in conterminous US forests associated with growth and major disturbances: 1992-2001. Environmental Research Letters. doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/6/1/014012.


    Google Scholar

    Related Search

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