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Estimates of carbon stored in harvested wood products from United States Forest Service's Sierra Nevada Bio-Regional Assessment Area of the Pacific Southwest Region, 1909-2012Author(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Source: Unpublished report.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
PDF: Download Publication (1007.0 KB)
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 1909 to 2012 for the USFS Sierra Nevada Bio-Regional Assessment Area (Assessment Area) of the Pacific Southwest Region. For the Assessment Area as a whole, carbon stocks in the HWP pool were increasing at just above 0.5 million megagrams of carbon (MgC) per year beginning in the late 1940's until the early 1990's, with peak cumulative storage to date of 32 million MgC occurring in 1999. Net positive flux into the HWP pool over this period is primarily attributable to high harvest levels during the 1960's through 1980's. In the years between the late 1960s and 1990 timber harvest were at high but volatile levels, with high harvests of over 2.5 million ccf (1.8 million MgC) occurring six times during this period, harvest levels from National Forests have since declined to less than 0.7 million ccf (0.5 million MgC) per year, resulting in less carbon entering the HWP pool. Since 2000, 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 Assessment Area's HWP pool is now in a period of negative net annual stock change because the decay of products harvested between 1909 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 Assessment Area, 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's Sierra Nevada Bio-Regional Assessment Area of the Pacific Southwest Region, 1909-2012. Unpublished report. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory. 28 p.
Keywordscarbon, harvested wood products, Pacific Southwest Region
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