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Title: Estimates of carbon stored in harvested wood products from United States Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region, 1909-2012

Author: Butler, Edward; Stockmann, Keith; Anderson, Nathaniel; Skog, Ken; Healey, Sean; Loeffler, Dan; Jones, J. Greg; Morrison, James; Young, Jesse;

Date: 2014

Source: Unpublished report. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory. 28 p.

Publication Series: Other

Description: Global forests capture and store significant amounts of carbon through photosynthesis. When carbon is removed from forests through harvest, a portion of the harvested carbon is stored in wood products, often for many decades. The United States Forest Service (USFS) and other agencies are interested in accurately accounting for carbon flux associated with harvested wood products (HWP) to meet greenhouse gas monitoring commitments and climate change adaptation and mitigation objectives. National-level forest carbon accounting has been in place for over a decade, but there is an increasing need for accounting for smaller scale administrative units, including USFS National Forest System regions and individual National Forests. This paper uses the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) production accounting approach to estimate HWP carbon storage from 1909 to 2012 from harvests on the national forests in the USFS Pacific Northwest Region. For the Pacific Northwest Region as a whole, carbon stocks in the HWP pool were increasing at over 1 million megagrams of carbon (MgC) per year between the late 1940's and the early 1990's, with peak cumulative storage between 143 million and 144 million MgC spanning 1992-1995. Net positive flux into the HWP pool over this period is primarily attributable to high harvest levels during the 1960's through the 1980's. In the years between the late 1960s and 1990 timber harvest were at high but volatile levels, with harvests exceeding 10.6 million ccf (8 million MgC) twice during this period. Harvest levels from national forests have since declined to less than 1.3 million ccf (1 million MgC) per year, resulting in less carbon entering the HWP pool. Since 1995, emissions from HWP at solid waste disposal sites have exceeded additions from harvesting, resulting in a decline in the total amount of carbon stored in the HWP pool. The Pacific Northwest Region's HWP pool is now in a period of negative net annual stock change because the decay of products harvested between 1909 and 2012 exceeds additions of carbon to the HWP pool through harvest. Together with estimates of ecosystem carbon, which are also being developed through the Forest Management Carbon Framework (ForCaMF), Regional level estimates of HWP carbon flux can be used to inform management decisions and guide climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts by the agency. Though our emphasis is on the Pacific Northwest Region as a whole, this accounting method can be applied more broadly at smaller land management units, such as National Forests.

Keywords: carbon, harvested wood products, Pacific Northwest Region

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.
  • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication. (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)

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Citation:


Butler, Edward; Stockmann, Keith; Anderson, Nathaniel; Skog, Ken; Healey, Sean; Loeffler, Dan; Jones, J. Greg; Morrison, James; Young, Jesse. 2014. Estimates of carbon stored in harvested wood products from United States Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region, 1909-2012. Unpublished report. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Forestry Sciences Laboratory. 28 p.

 


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