Monitoring Network Confirms Land Use Change is a Substantial Component of the Forest Carbon Sink in the eastern United States

C. W. Woodall, B. F. Walters, J. W. Coulston, A. W. D'Amato, G. M. Domke, M. B. Russell, P. A. Sowers

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23 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17028
JournalScientific reports
Volume5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 7 2015

Bibliographical note

Copyright:
Copyright 2015 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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