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Monitoring network confirms land use change is a substantial component of the forest carbon sink in the eastern United States

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Woodall, Christopher W.; Walters, Brian F.; Coulston, John; D’Amato, A.W.; Domke, Grant M.; Russell, M.B.; Sowers, Paul

Year Published

2015

Publication

Scientific Reports. 5: 17028.

Abstract

Quantifying forest carbon (C) stocks and stock change within a matrix of land use (LU) and LU change is a central component of large-scale forest C monitoring and reporting practices prescribed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Using a region–wide, repeated forest inventory, forest C stocks and stock change by pool were examined by LU categories. In eastern US forests, LU change is a substantial component of C sink strength (~37% of forest sink strength) only secondary to that of C accumulation in forests remaining forest where their comingling with other LUs does not substantially reduce sink strength. The strongest sinks of forest C were study areas not completely dominated by forests, even when there was some loss of forest to agriculture/settlement/ other LUs. Long-term LU planning exercises and policy development that seeks to maintain and/ or enhance regional C sinks should explicitly recognize the importance of maximizing non-forest to forest LU changes and not overlook management and conservation of forests located in landscapes not currently dominated by forests.

Citation

Woodall, C.W.; Walters, B.F.; Coulston, J.W.; D’Amato, A.W.; Domke, G.M.; Russell, M.B.; Sowers, P.A. 2015. Monitoring network confirms land use change is a substantial component of the forest carbon sink in the eastern United States. Scientific Reports. 5: 17028. https://doi.org/10.1038/srep17028.

Last updated on: December 16, 2015