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Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science


Forests play a specific and important role in the global carbon cycle; plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store carbon in their tissues and belowground in forest soils. As greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere, forests can play a role in removing some carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to help mitigate the effects of climate change. Forest management activities can affect the amount of carbon that remains stored, or sequestered, in forest ecosystems versus the amount that is released back into the atmosphere. NIACS works with scientists and land managers to explore the scientific data on forest carbon management and synthesize the information to help with decision-making.

[photo:] NIACS research fellow Luke Nave conducting field research on soils.The National Soil Carbon Network
The National Soil Carbon Network (NSCN) is an organization of scientists working towards a large-scale synthesis of soil carbon research in the United States. NIACS provides vital institutional support to the Network, particularly in the areas of logistics, communications, graphic and web design, and outreach to the forest ecology and management community. More about this project > >  

[photo:] A measuring tape indicates the top 10 cm of the “A” soil horizon. The “A” horizon often contains the most carbon in the mineral soil profile.Forest Management and Soil Carbon
How does soil carbon storage change under different forest management regimes? Scientists at several different organizations teamed up to research this question using a technique called meta-analysis. The team collected and organized hundreds of study results, which they then analyzed. More about this project > >  

The Radiocarbon Collaborative
Our organization is dedicated to advancing climate change and carbon cycle science by making radiocarbon analysis accessible to earth system scientists. The Radiocarbon collaborative is jointly supported by the USDA Forest Service, the Keck Carbon Cycle AMS Facility at University of California Irvine, and Michigan Technological University. More about this project > >

Additional Resources


Last Modified: 01/02/2018

About NIACS:
Forest carbon basics

[animation:] A diagram representing how trees take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen during photosynthesis. Trees store carbon in their trunks, branches and roots.