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Estimates of carbon stored in harvested wood products from United States Forest Service Intermountain Region, 1911-2012Author(s): Keith Stockmann; Nathaniel Anderson; Jesse Young; Ken Skog; Sean Healey; Dan Loeffler; Edward Butler; J. Greg Jones; James Morrison
Source: Unpublished report. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory. 28 p.
Publication Series: Other
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
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DescriptionGlobal forests capture and store significant amounts of carbon through photosynthesis. When carbon is removed from forests through harvest, a portion of the harvested carbon is stored in wood products, often for many decades. The United States Forest Service (USFS) and other agencies are interested in accurately accounting for carbon flux associated with harvested wood products (HWP) to meet greenhouse gas monitoring commitments and climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives. National-level forest carbon accounting has been in place for over a decade, but there is an increasing need for accounting for smaller scale administrative units, including USFS National Forest System regions and individual National Forests. This paper uses the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) production accounting approach to estimate HWP carbon storage from 1911 to 2012 for the USFS Intermountain Region. For the Intermountain Region as a whole, carbon stocks in the HWP pool were increasing at approximately 200,000 megagrams of carbon (MgC) per year in the late 1950s through the early 1990s, with peak cumulative storage of 9.8 million MgC occurring in 1999. Net positive flux into the HWP pool over this period is primarily attributable to high harvest levels in the early1950s through the 1990s. In the years between the mid-1960s and 1990 timber harvests were at high, volatile levels, with high harvests of over 850,000 ccf (620,000 MgC) occurring five times during this period. Harvest levels from National Forests of the Intermountain Region have since declined to less than 200,000 ccf (160,000 MgC) per year, resulting in less carbon entering the HWP pool. Since 2001, emissions from HWP at solid waste disposal sites exceeded additions from harvesting, resulting in a decline in the total amount of carbon stored in the HWP pool. The Intermountain Region's HWP pool is now in a period of negative net annual stock change because the decay of products harvested between 1911 and 2012 exceeds additions of carbon to the HWP pool through harvest. Together with estimates of ecosystem carbon, which are also being developed through the Forest Management Carbon Framework (ForCaMF), Regional level estimates of HWP carbon flux can be used to inform management decisions and guide climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts by the agency. Though our emphasis is on the Intermountain Region as a whole, this accounting method can be applied more broadly at smaller land management units, such as National Forests.
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CitationStockmann, Keith; Anderson, Nathaniel; Young, Jesse; Skog, Ken; Healey, Sean; Loeffler, Dan; Butler, Edward; Jones, J. Greg; Morrison, James. 2014. Estimates of carbon stored in harvested wood products from United States Forest Service Intermountain Region, 1911-2012. Unpublished report. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory. 28 p.
Keywordscarbon, harvested wood products, Intermountain Region
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