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How to Estimate Forest Carbon for Large Areas from Inventory Data

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Carbon sequestration through forest growth provides a low-cost approach for meeting state and national goals to reduce net accumulations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Total forest ecosystem carbon stocks include “pools” in live trees, standing dead trees, understory vegetation, down dead wood, forest floor, and soil. Determining the level of carbon stocks in forest ecosystems has become a concern of governments, businesses, and many organizations. This article provides examples of inventory-based calculations and identifies resources that are available for analysts and planners to develop large-scale carbon estimates consistent with totals for US forests. Estimates can be based on current regional averages classified according to region, forest type, ownership, or stand size class; on stand-level inventory data, measured or calculated; or on locally specific information, such as individual tree sizes or other data acquired from sampling a specific forest.

Keywords: climate change; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; sequestration

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Research Plant Physiologist Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service PO Box 640 Durham NH 03824, Email: 2: Research Forester and Project Leader Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service PO Box 640 Durham NH 03824 3: Research Biologist Northeastern Research Station USDA Forest Service PO Box 640 Durham NH 03824

Publication date: July 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.476
    Ranking: 22 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Forest Science
    Other SAF Publications
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