Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

The U.S. forest carbon accounting framework: stocks and stock change, 1990-2016

Author(s):

Hans-Erik Andersen
Brian J. Clough
Stephen C. Hagen
Ian S. Hanou
Charles H. (Hobie) Perry
Matthew B. Russell
Jim Westfall
Barry T. (Ty) Wilson

Year:

2015

Publication type:

General Technical Report (GTR)

Primary Station(s):

Northern Research Station

Source:

Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-154. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 49 p.

Description

As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States annually prepares an inventory of carbon that has been emitted and sequestered among sectors (e.g., energy, agriculture, and forests). For many years, the United States developed an inventory of forest carbon by comparing contemporary forest inventories to inventories that were collected using different techniques and definitions from more than 20 years ago. Recognizing the need to improve the U.S. forest carbon inventory budget, the United States is adopting the Forest Carbon Accounting Framework, a new approach that removes this older inventory information from the accounting procedures and enables the delineation of forest carbon accumulation by forest growth, land use change, and natural disturbances such as fire. By using the new accounting approach with consistent inventory information, it was found that net land use change is a substantial contributor to the United States forest carbon sink, with the entire forest sink offsetting approximately 15 percent of annual U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. The new framework adheres to accounting guidelines set forth by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change while charting a path forward for the incorporation of emerging research, data, and the needs of stakeholders (e.g., reporting at small scales and boreal forest carbon).

Citation

Woodall, Christopher W.; Coulston, John W.; Domke, Grant M.; Walters, Brian F.; Wear, David N.; Smith, James E.; Andersen, Hans-Erik; Clough, Brian J.; Cohen, Warren B.; Griffith, Douglas M.; Hagen, Stephen C.; Hanou, Ian S.; Nichols, Michael C.; Perry, Charles H.; Russell, Matthew B.; Westfall, James A.; Wilson, Barry T. 2015. The U.S. forest carbon accounting framework: stocks and stock change, 1990-2016. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-154. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 49 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-GTR-154.

Cited

Publication Notes

  • 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.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/49858