NFS Carbon Assessments
Our forests – national forests as well as private and other public forests – provide an important ecosystem service in the form of carbon sequestration – the uptake and storage of carbon in forests and wood products. This service is becoming more valuable as the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions are becoming more fully understood and experienced. The Forest Service has always led efforts to practice, develop, and demonstrate sound and sustainable management of forest-based resources; the management of forest carbon is no exception.
The Forest Service has developed regional carbon assessment reports (whitepapers) to help forest managers and the public understand how much carbon is stored in forest ecosystems and harvested wood products. The baseline forest carbon reports provide information from the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data on carbon stocks and trends for seven different forest ecosystem carbon pools – above-ground live tree, below-ground live tree, standing dead, understory, down dead wood, forest floor and soil organic carbon – for the baseline period 1990 to 2013 (and 2005 to 2013, truncation of the longer baseline). These reports also provide estimates of carbon stored in HWP over longer time periods depending upon data availability. This is provided as a nationally consistent data set with which we can better understand geographic differences and important trends.
Carbon stock and trend information, in conjunction with companion assessments on forest carbon disturbances (currently being developed) will help inform forest managers and the public of the relationship between carbon storage and past management and disturbance impacts and to begin considering the short and long-term carbon consequences of alternative forest management strategies.
Due to these differences in sampling between periodic and annual inventories, there can be variation in the regional data between the two time series segments – pre 2000 and post 2000 (exact years dependent on individual state). As a result of these differences, the assessments on this page include carbon estimates for two baselines – 1990 to 2013, and 2005 to 2013.
Regional climate change coordinators have conferred with regional FIA leadership to designate which of the two baselines they will use. The Climate Change Advisor’s webpage has the assessments with the baseline period chosen by our regional staff and the rationale for using one baseline over the other. Both 1990 and 2005 are commonly used baseline years for international negotiations and therefore acceptable in planning and management decisions.
NFS Carbon Assessments Briefing Paper
Northern Region (R1) Report
Rocky Mountain Region (R2) Report
Southwestern Region (R3) Report
Intermountain Region (R4) Report
Pacific Southwest Region (R5) Report
Pacific Northwest Region (R6) Report
Southern Region (R8) Report
Eastern Region (R9) Report
Alaska Region (R10) Report
Contact Karen Dante (email@example.com) for ecosystem carbon stocks and harvested wood products datasets.