Skip to Main Content
Attribution of net carbon change by disturbance type across forest lands of the conterminous United StatesAuthor(s): N. L. Harris; S. C. Hagen; S. S. Saatchi; T. R. H. Pearson; Christopher W. Woodall; Grant M. Domke; B. H. Braswell; Brian F. Walters; S. Brown; W. Salas; A. Fore; Y. Yu
Source: Carbon Balance and Management. 11(1): 24. 21 p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13021-016-0066-5
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
Download Publication (4.0 MB)
DescriptionBackground: Locating terrestrial sources and sinks of carbon (C) will be critical to developing strategies that contribute to the climate change mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement. Here we present spatially resolved estimates of net C change across United States (US) forest lands between 2006 and 2010 and attribute them to natural and anthropogenic processes. Results: Forests in the conterminous US sequestered −460 ± 48 Tg C year−1, while C losses from disturbance averaged 191 ± 10 Tg C year−1. Combining estimates of net C losses and gains results in net carbon change of −269 ± 49 Tg C year−1. New forests gained −8 ± 1 Tg C year−1, while deforestation resulted in losses of 6 ± 1 Tg C year−1. Forest land remaining forest land lost 185 ± 10 Tg C year−1 to various disturbances; these losses were compensated by net carbon gains of −452 ± 48 Tg C year−1. C loss in the southern US was highest (105 ± 6 Tg C year−1) with the highest fractional contributions from harvest (92%) and wind (5%). C loss in the western US (44 ± 3 Tg C year−1) was due predominantly to harvest (66%), fire (15%), and insect damage (13%). The northern US had the lowest C loss (41 ± 2 Tg C year−1) with the most significant proportional contributions from harvest (86%), insect damage (9%), and conversion (3%). Taken together, these disturbances reduced the estimated potential C sink of US forests by 42%. Conclusion: The framework presented here allows for the integration of ground and space observations to more fully inform US forest C policy and monitoring efforts.
- 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, email@example.com 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.
CitationHarris, N.L.; Hagen, S.C.; Saatchi, S.S.; Pearson, T.R.H.; Woodall, C.W.; Domke, G.M.; Braswell, B.H.; Walters, B.F.; Brown, S.; Salas, W.; Fore, A.; Yu, Y. 2016. Attribution of net carbon change by disturbance type across forest lands of the conterminous United States. Carbon Balance and Management. 11(1): 24. 21 p. http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13021-016-0066-5
KeywordsForests, Disturbance, Harvest, Insects, Fire, Drought, Greenhouse gas, Land use, Climate change, FIA, UNFCCC
- Complex forest dynamics indicate potential for slowing carbon accumulation in the southeastern United States
- Forest carbon dynamics associated with growth and disturbances in Oklahoma and Texas, 1992-2006
- Disturbance and climate effects on carbon stocks and fluxes across western Oregon USA.
XML: View XML