For the first time, a new publication by the USDA Forest Service delivers an overview of the status and trends of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from forest land, woodlands, hardwood products, and urban trees nationally for 49 U.S. states.
“This year, we are delivering a report that is 49 times more useful than it was a year ago,” said Grant Domke, a research forester with Forest Inventory and Analysis in the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station. “From forest managers to policy makers, data on the role of forests in the carbon cycle is critical to decisions that will shape the future of the Nation’s forests.”
Titled “Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals from Forest Land, Woodlands, and Urban Trees in the United States, 1990-2018,” the resource update is available online through the Forest Service’s Northern Research Station at: https://doi.org/10.2737/FS-RU-227.
The estimates of greenhouse gas emissions and removals were developed by Forest Service scientists as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Greenhouse Gas Report, which was released on April 13.
Estimates include the movement of carbon from the atmosphere into living trees, dead wood and soil as well as emissions from forest fires. The only state not included in the report is Hawaii, where data were not available.
The report revealed that collectively, forested land, harvested wood products, and urban trees accounted for more than 95% of what is called the land carbon sink, how carbon is stored in natural systems, in the US. The carbon removed from the atmosphere and stored in forests, harvested wood, and urban trees is equal to more than 11% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States every year between 1990 and 2018.
“The Forest Inventory and Analysis Program has served states for 90 years by producing reliable statistics on forest trends,” said Tony Ferguson, Director of two Forest Service research organizations, the Northern Research Station and the Forest Products Laboratory. “This year marks another evolution in our service to states as we expand the availability of data on forests and carbon storage.”