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Assessing seven decades of carbon accumulation in two U.S. northern hardwood forests

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Forests. 2: 730-740


Forests play a key role in the global carbon cycle, and programs aimed at mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through the protection and enhancement of forest carbon stocks are growing in number. Adding greenhouse gas mitigation as a management objective presents managers with a considerable challenge, because data and guidelines are scarce. Long-term inventory datasets have the potential to serve as a useful resource, providing data on carbon accumulation over time, as well as offering insight on strategies for managing forests for the objective of climate mitigation in the face of changing climate and disturbance regimes. We present long-term estimates of carbon accumulation developed from biometric measurements from two northern hardwood forests in the northeastern USA. The Bartlett Experimental Forest in central New Hampshire, USA, stored an estimated net average annual 0.53 tC/ha/yr between 1932-2001, for an increase of 50% in carbon stock per unit area; there were significant differences in accrual rates between age classes (38% for old unmanaged stands and 78% for younger unmanaged stands). The Kane Experimental Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania, USA, exhibited a 140% increase in carbon stored per unit area between 1932 and 2006, with an average annual accumulation rate of 0.89 tC/ha/yr. While both forests have experienced management activity and natural disturbances and differ in species composition, the average age of the forests is an important factor driving the differences in net accumulation rates.


forest carbon; long-term inventory; northern hardwood forests


Hoover, Coeli, M. 2011. Assessing seven decades of carbon accumulation in two U.S. northern hardwood forests. Forests. 2: 730-740.

Last updated on: September 20, 2011