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The Carbon Consequences of Thinning Techniques: Stand Structure Makes a Difference

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Using results from a 25-year study of thinning in a northwestern Pennsylvania Allegheny hardwood stand, we assess whether and how thinning method affected carbon sequestration and merchantable volume production. Plots were thinned to similar residual relative density by removing trees from different portions of the diameter distribution. Plots that were thinned from below had greater volume production and carbon sequestration rates than plots that were thinned from the middle or thinned from above. Control plots, which were not thinned, also had higher carbon sequestration rates than plots thinned from the middle and higher merchantable volume production and carbon sequestration rates than plots thinned from above. In this forest type, changing stand structure by thinning can affect carbon sequestration and stand growth either positively or negatively. Those effects can be significant, with long-term implications for the growth of the stand. In general, structures that favored volume production also favor carbon sequestration.

Keywords: carbon sequestration; forest carbon; thinning

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-07-01

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  • 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.

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    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

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