Navigation Links
Northwest Forest Plan has unintended benefit - carbon sequestration
Date:7/22/2011

CORVALLIS, Ore. The Northwest Forest Plan enacted in 1993 was designed to conserve old-growth forests and protect species such as the northern spotted owl, but researchers conclude in a new study that it had another powerful and unintended consequence increased carbon sequestration on public lands.

When forest harvest levels fell 82 percent on public forest lands in the years after passage of this act, they became a significant carbon "sink" for the first time in decades, absorbing much more carbon from the atmosphere than they released. At the same time, private forest lands became close to carbon neutral.

Carbon emission or sequestration is a key factor in global warming, and a concept now gaining wider interest is the role of forest lands in helping to address concerns about the greenhouse effect.

Researchers at Oregon State University and the Pacific Northwest Research Station of the USDA Forest Service created these assessments with a new system that incorporates satellite remote sensing and more accurately simulates ecological processes over broad areas. It considers such factors as the growth of trees, decomposition, fire emissions, climate variation and wood harvest.

"The original goals of the Northwest Forest Plan had nothing to do with the issue of carbon emissions, but now carbon sequestration is seen as an important ecosystem service," said David Turner, a professor in the OSU Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society.

"Forests provide many services, such as habitat protection, recreation, water purification, and wood production," he said. "Carbon sequestration has now been added to that list. And our approach can provide the kind of spatially and temporally explicit data that will help evaluate the potential trade-offs associated with management activities."

Previous estimates of forest carbon balance had suggested a significant loss of carbon from Pacific Northwest forest lands between 1953 and 1987, associated with a high rate of old-growth timber harvest. Those harvests peaked in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Forest fire is also an issue in carbon emissions, but researchers said in the study that the magnitude of emissions linked to fire was modest, compared to the impacts of logging. Even the massive Biscuit Fire in southern Oregon in 2002 released less carbon into the atmosphere than logging-related emissions that year, they said.

The findings are of some interest, researchers said, because the value of carbon sequestration is now something that can be better quantified in economic terms, and then incorporated into management decisions and policies.

This study was just published online in Forest Ecology and Management, a professional journal. The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the interagency North American Carbon Program. The area analyzed included western Oregon, western Washington and northern California.

In earlier work, Turner and other researchers had found that carbon sequestration in Oregon, much of it from forests, amounted to almost half of the state-level carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion. Nationally, forest carbon accumulation offsets about 15 percent of U.S. fossil fuel emissions.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Turner
david.turner@oregonstate.edu
541-737-5043
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Northwest climate change is target of $3.2M in grants to University of Oregon
2. Wildfires result in loss of forests reserved by Northwest Forest Plan
3. Invasives threaten salmon in Pacific Northwest
4. The fragility of the worlds coral is revealed through a study of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands
5. New dinosaur species possible in Northwestern Alberta
6. Pacific Northwest forests could store more carbon, help address greenhouse issues
7. New project to forecast toxic algal blooms on Pacific Northwest beaches
8. University of Washington receives $25 million to create Northwest Genomics Center
9. Global warming may spur increased growth in Pacific Northwest forests
10. Managing Pacific Northwest dams for a changing climate
11. 20th century one of driest in 9 centuries for northwest Africa
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/3/2016)... , March 3, 2016  FlexTech, a SEMI ... categories of Innovation, Research & Development, Leadership in Education, ... This is the 9 th year of the ... of companies and individuals from past years . ... on a pre-described set of criteria, by a panel ...
(Date:3/2/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/wzwqtz/global_biometrics ... the  "Global Biometrics Market in Hospitality Sector ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769) , , Global biometrics market in ... CAGR of around 27%   --> ... the addition of the  "Global Biometrics Market ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... FRANCISCO , March 1, 2016  (RSAC Booth ... year, but a whopping $118 billion is lost to ... to overzealous and inaccurate fraud detection. At the RSA ... in the way companies handle authentication by devaluing the ... and behavioral analytics. --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... April 27, ... ... without realizing it. Touch screen mobile devices with fingerprint recognition for secure ... image libraries are only a few ways consumers are interacting with biometrics technology ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. , April ... UTHR ) announced today that Martine Rothblatt , ... will provide an overview and update on the company,s ... Health Care Conference. The presentation will take ... Eastern Time, and can be accessed via a live ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... has joined the company as an Expert Consultant. Mr. Clark was formerly ... and managing the development of small molecule monographs based on analytical methods. ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) in existing third-party MRI ... testing novel treatments in small animal subjects. Simultaneous PET/MRI imaging offers a solution ...
Breaking Biology Technology: