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Past and Prospective Carbon Stocks Assessed in Forests of Northern Wisconsin

Photo of Aerial view of Wisconsin Forests in the Fall. Scott Pearson Aerial view of Wisconsin Forests in the Fall. Scott Pearson Snapshot : Forest Service scientists and cooperators assessed past and prospective carbon stocks for 4.5 million hectares (about 11 million acres) of forest land in northern Wisconsin and analyzed the effects of disturbance and management. Over the last decade, carbon stocks of northern Wisconsin forests have been increasing and they found that there is potential to increase stocking on the land by allowing more of the forested area to reach older age classes or by increasing growth rates through improving forest management.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Birdsey, Richard 
Research Location : Wisconsin
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 601

Summary

In recognition of the importance of forests in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to mitigate climate change, policy makers and land managers are interested in increasing carbon stocks or forest growth rates on public and private lands. A pilot study by Forest Service scientists and cooperators assessed past and prospective carbon stocks for all forest lands in northern Wisconsin, and analyzed the effects of disturbance and management. The study illustrates how to apply the best available science to inform the choices that land managers may consider. For all forest types in northern Wisconsin, there is potential to increase stocking on the land by allowing more of the forested area to reach older age classes or by increasing growth rates. Opportunities to increase afforestation and reduce deforestation are limited; however, there is potential for utilizing biomass energy as a substitute for fossil fuels. There are several options for private landowners to participate in carbon markets or greenhouse gas registries and receive some credit for additional actions to reduce emissions or increase sequestration of carbon. The methods used here can be adapted for use by other regions or national forests to assess carbon stocks and effects of management and disturbance on future carbon stocks.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • LINDA PARKER, U.S. Forest Service, Chequamegon-Nicolet
  • DAVID MLADENOFF
  • FANGMIN ZHANG, University of Toronto
  • JEREMY LICHSTEIN, University of Florida
  • JING CHEN
  • STITH GOWER, University of Wisconsin
  • University of Toronto
  • University of Wisconsin

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