Forest carbon storage: ecology, management, and policy

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Fahey, Timothy J., Woodbury, Peter B., Battles, John J., Goodale, Christine L., Hamburg, Steven P., Ollinger, Scott V., Woodall, Christopher W.

The objective of this review is to give ecologists and policy makers a better understanding of
forest carbon dynamics and recent policy and management activities in this arena. The ecology of
forest carbon is well understood, but measurement and projection of carbon sequestration at
small scales can be costly. Some forest management activities qualify as offsets in various
carbon markets. To promote wider use, a system is needed that will provide inexpensive and
standardized approaches to forest carbon accounting that are not prone to dishonest handling.
The prospects are fairly promising for development of such a system, but first, technical and
organizational constraints must be overcome. In contrast, the benefits – in terms of
greenhouse-gas reduction – of substituting wood for other building materials, and in
displacing fossil fuel energy, could be realized immediately, if standards for calculations
can be developed.


Fahey, T. J., P. B. Woodbury, J. J. Battles, C. L. Goodale, S. P. Hamburg, S. V. Ollinger, and C. W. Woodall. 2010. Forest carbon storage: ecology, management, and policy. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8:245-252.