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Individual Highlight

Quantifying and Managing Carbon Sequestration in Longleaf Pine Ccosystems.

Photo of An 83-year-old longleaf pine stand planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Polk in Louisiana. John R. Butnor, USDA Forest ServiceAn 83-year-old longleaf pine stand planted by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Polk in Louisiana. John R. Butnor, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forests can offset greenhouse gas emissions by sequestering carbon dioxide in tree biomass, understory vegetation, forest floor litter, detritus, soils and wood products. In partnership with Auburn University and the University of Florida, Forest Service scientists are assessing soil carbon pools and above and below-ground productivity in longleaf pine stands to create modeling tools for carbon management.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Butnor, JohnJohnsen, Kurt
Research Location : Fort Benning (Columbus, GA); Fort Polk (Leesville, LA); Camp Lejeune (Jacksonville, NC).
Research Station : Southern Research Station (SRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 719

Summary

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) bases across the Southern United States contain some of the most extensive remaining longleaf pine forests. On these bases, a major focus of DoD forest managers, is on restoration and protection of longleaf pine ecosystems for threatened and endangered species and, more recently, carbon sequestration. Together with Auburn University and the University of Florida, the Forest Service's Southern Research Station was awarded a five year grant to develop tools to explicitly quantify and manage longleaf pine forest carbon sequestration. The researchers focused on quantifying below-ground carbon pools and processes, collecting thousands of soil samples for carbon, nitrogen, black carbon (carbon stabilized by fire), texture, root biomass and root nutrient analysis as well as extensive data on tree root biomass, root decomposition and spatial distribution of roots using ground penetrating radar. Fieldwork at Fort Benning (GA), Fort Polk (LA) and Camp Lejeune (NC) was completed this summer and data is being incorporated into management models. The research revealed that longleaf pine root systems continue to store carbon long after trees are harvested due to slow decomposition rates. Furthermore, the research have found that incomplete combustion of biomass in these fire dependent ecosystems can stabilize and sequester carbon in soil for thousands of years.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Auburn University
  • University of Florida