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Issues In Ecology, Issue 13: A Synthesis of the Science on Forests and Carbon for U.S. Forests

Forests play an important role in the U.S. and global carbon cycle, and carbon sequestered by U.S. forest growth and harvested wood products currently offsets 12-19% of U.S. fossil fuel emissions. The cycle of forest growth, death, and regeneration and the use of wood removed from the forest complicate efforts to understand and measure forest carbon pools and flows. Our report explains these processes and examines the science behind mechanisms proposed for increasing the amount of carbon stored in forests and using wood to offset fossil fuel use. We also examine the tradeoffs, costs, and benefits associated with each mechanism and explain how forest carbon is measured.
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Resource Group This report from ESA's Issues in Ecology Series is associated with the lecture activity Active Teaching with Issues in Ecology: Carbon Dynamics in Ecosystems. Click the link below to view this resource.
Resource Group Link
Primary or BEN resource type
Secondary resource type
Discipline Specific Core Concepts
Life science discipline (subject)
Keywords Carbon cycle, photosynthesis, respiration, decomposition, transformation of organic compounds, alternative conceptions, report
Intended End User Role
Educational Language
Pedagogical Use Description This resource is associated with the lecture activity Active Teaching with Issues in Ecology: Carbon Dynamics in Ecosystems
Primary Author Controlled Name
Primary Author Affiliation USDA Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fort
Collins, CO
Primary Author email
Rights Copyright 2010 by Michael G. Ryan, Mark E. Harmon, Richard A. Birdsey, Christian P. Giardina, Linda S. Heath, Richard A. Houghton, Robert B. Jackson, Duncan C. McKinley, James F. Morrison, Brian C. Murray, Diane E. Pataki, and Kenneth E. Skog
Date Of Record Submission 2011-02-07

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