Potential to Increase Carbon Sequestration with Tree Planting
A Northern Research Station scientist led the most in-depth study to date on how increasing the number of forest trees might offset carbon emissions in the United States. To mitigate tree loss and offset carbon emissions, several initiatives are underway to increase tree planting in forests and landscapes that are not technically defined as forests, such as urban forests. To determine carbon emissions offset from approximately 1.38 trillion trees currently growing in the conterminous United States, researchers examined publicly available data from more than 130,000 forested plots from the national forest inventory conducted by the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program. Forests and harvested wood products annually offset the equivalent of more than 14 %of economy-wide carbon dioxide emissions in the Nation, however, almost 33 million hectares of productive forest land are understocked with trees. Fully stocking all understocked productive forest land with trees could increase carbon sequestration by approximately 20 percent. Current efforts by the federal and state governments and private entities result in an estimated 1.2 billion trees planted on forest land annually, and these trees sequester between 16 and 28 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere per year. These findings suggest that concentrating tree planting on understocked productive forest land may substantially increase carbon sequestration capacity in the United States.
|Tree planting has the potential to increase carbon sequestration capacity of forests in the United States||(publication)|