Timber and Habitat Tradeoffs Associated with Managing West Cascades Forests to Increase Carbon Storage
Policies for increasing carbon storage on federal lands are being proposed to address climate change. Although the effects of forest management on carbon dynamics generally are known, few studies have examined how carbon dynamics are influenced by different forest management regimes within specific ecosystems.
Forest Service scientists analyzed how different management regimes would affect carbon storage, habitat, and timber production in the Pacific Northwest. They found that the tradeoffs among these ecosystem services depend on the management regime. For example, managing Pacific Northwest forests to store forest carbon can be roughly complementary with the production of habitat for the olive-sided flycatcher, northern spotted owl, and red tree vole. However, managing forests to increase carbon storage potentially can be competitive with timber production and habitat for pacific marten, pileated woodpecker, and western bluebird, depending on the disturbance interval and harvest intensity.
The scientists found that forest management regimes typical on industrial forest lands (40- to 80-year rotations with some tree retention for wildlife) represent only a small fraction of joint production outcomes possible in the region. Although some of the production possibilities developed in this study may be unachievable in the current management environment, they can be used to define the long-term potential of managing forests to produce multiple goods and values within and across multiple forest ownerships.
Forest Service Partners