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US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

A Synthesis of the Science on U.S. Forests and Carbon

Snapshot : Due to the recognized expertise and the credibility of our scientists, the Rocky Mountain Research Station was asked by the Ecological Society of America to lead the production of a synthesis of scientific findings relating to the role of forests in capturing carbon gases.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Tom Crow 
Research Location : nationwide
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2010
Highlight ID : 253

Summary

Due to the recognized expertise and the credibility of our scientists, the Rocky Mountain Research Station was asked by the Ecological Society of America to lead the production of a synthesis of scientific findings relating to the role of forests in capturing carbon gases. Twelve scientists collaborated on this report, including six Forest Service scientists from across the nation. Research results were published in the Ecological Society of America's spring edition of Issues in Ecology. The report details eight strategies being implemented or proposed in the United States and the risks, uncertainties, and trade-offs of each: avoiding deforestation, afforestation (planting trees), decreasing harvests, using wood for construction instead of concrete or steel, urban forestry, and fuel treatments. All of the strategies analyzed have tradeoffs and potentially unintended consequences, and it is recognized that these strategies are not additive. For example, you cannot store more biomass in the forest while increasing consumption of woody biofuels. The findings relate not only to the issues of climate change and energy independence but also to the economic concerns that are currently facing America. According to the authors, the costs of implementing the strategies to sequester carbon are often far less than the cost of reducing the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions through conservation and efficiency gains in the transportation or electric power sectors. A technical report on carbon resulting from this effort is also being published in Ecological Applications.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Ecological Society of America

Research Topics

Priority Areas

  • Resource Management and Use
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