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Viewing:How much carbon is stored in U.S. forests?

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CARBON BUDGET OF UNITED STATES FORESTS

Q: How much carbon is stored in U.S. Forests?

A: Our most recent (1992) carbon estimates by region and forest ecosystem component are:

Area of forest land and carbon storage by region, forest class, and forest ecosystem component, 1992.
     

Forest Ecosystem Component

Region 1

Forest Land 2

Area 3

Soil

Forest
Floor

Under-
story

Trees

Total

   

1000 ha

--------------Million metric tons--------------

Northeast Timberland
Reserved
Other
Total

32,153
1,841
559
34,554

4,348
315
68
4,731

562
44
8
615

53
4
1
59

2,041
163
35
2,239

7,004
526
113
7,643

North Central Timberland
Reserved
Other
Total

31,708
1,211
715
33,634

3,192
151
152
3,495

460
23
22
505

45
2
2
48

1,573
60
46
1,679

5,270
235
222
5,727

Southeast Timberland
Reserved
Other
Total

34,316
809
520
35,645

2,411
75
32
2,518

197
9
3
210

106
3
2
111

2,017
60
10
2,086

4,730
147
47
4,924

South Central Timberland
Reserved
Other
Total

46,344
425
3,316
50,085

3,044
42
205
3,292

230
4
17
251

155
2
13
170

2,691
33
102
2,825

6,121
81
337
6,539

Rocky Mountains Timberland
Reserved
Other
Total

25,346
4,971
26,233
56,549

2,164
479
1,248
3,891

452
86
185
723

29
7
30
65

1,415
328
970
2,713

4,060
901
2,432
7,393

Pacific Coast Timberland
Reserved
Other
Total

22,158
2,695
10,555
35,408

2,334
319
743
3,396

492
69
73
634

92
12
41
145

1,631
211
396
2,237

4,548
612
1,252
6,413

Alaska Timberland
Reserved
Other
Total

6,098
2,439
43,723
52,259

2,002
1,706
8,305
12,013

250
214
1,161
1,624

19
16
169
203

319
263
1,573
2,155

2,590
2,198
11,207
15,996

United States Timberland
Reserved
Other
Total

198,123
14,391
85,620
298,133

19,495
3,088
10,753
33,336

2,644
450
1,469
4,562

499
46
256
801

11,685
1,118
3,133
15,935

34,323
4,701
15,611
54,635

 

1 For definitions of Regions, click here.

2 Forest land is defined as land at least 10% stocked by forest trees of any size, including land that formally had such tree cover and will be naturally or artificially regenerated. Timberland is defined as forest land that is capable of producing more than 20 cubic feet per acre per year of industrial wood in natural stands. Currently inaccessible and inoperable stands are included, but land reserved from harvesting is excluded. Reserved forestlands are withdrawn from timber utilization by statute or administrative regulation. Wilderness is an example of reserved lands. Other forest land is forest land that is not capable of producing 20 cubic feet per acre per year of industrial wood. For further information, see the glossary in reference listed in footnote 3.

3 From Powell , D. S., and others. 1993. Forest resources of the United States, 1992. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, General Technical Report RM-234, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 132 p. + map

SOURCE: Birdsey, R. A., and L. S. Heath. 1995. Carbon changes in U.S. Forests IN: Joyce, L. A., ed. Productivity of America's forests and climate change. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, General Technical Report RM-271, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Ft. Collins, CO. 70 p.