NE - RWU 4104

Last modified 08/28/08

Woodall, C.W.; Heath, L.S.; Smith, J.E. 2008.

National inventories of down and dead woody material forest carbon stocks in the United States: Challenges and opportunities.

Forest Ecology and Management. 256: 221-228.


Concerns over the effect of greenhouse gases and consequent international agreements and regional/national programs have spurred the need for comprehensive assessments of forest ecosystem carbon stocks. Down and dead woody (DDW) materials are a substantial component of forest carbon stocks; however, few surveys of DDW carbon stocks have been conducted at national-scales around the world. This study uses the DDW survey of the United States as a case study to examine the challenges of inventorying DDW at a national scale, reviews how dead wood carbon pools are currently estimated in the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory (NGHGI), and suggests opportunities for improving such inventories. The US currently estimates national DDW carbon stocks using models with standing live tree attributes as predictor variables, calibrated using preliminary DDW field estimates. In recent years, implementation of a national DDW inventory has resulted in inventory-based DDW estimates. National field-based DDW estimates follow the national patterns of DDW carbon dispersion seen in earlier model-based estimates. Although the current DDW inventory provides fairly repeatable measurements within a statistically defensible national sample design for producing national estimates of DDW carbon stocks, improving numerous aspects of the DDW survey would may improve the accuracy and precision of C estimates reported in the NGHGI.


Dead wood, coarse woody debris, fine woody debris, carbon inventory, model

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