Forest modeling shows which harvest rotations lead to maximum carbon sequestration

By Steve Lundeberg, OSU College of Forestry
Timber Harvesting & Forest Operations
January 12, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

OREGON — Forest modeling research at Oregon State University’s College of Forestry shows a tract’s productivity is the top factor determining the rotation time that allows for the most above-ground carbon sequestration. Using OSU’s 11,000 acre McDonald-Dunn Research Forest as a study area, researchers inventoried more than 300 tracts known from past activities that varied widely in productivity levels. …Using a 240-year time frame, researchers found that the most highly productive stands have the greatest carbon storage with 60-year rotations that include low intensity thinning at 40 years. Less productive sites had their best carbon storage rates at rotations ranging from roughly 80 to 100 years. However, longer rotations require multiple thinning entries to maintain overstory Douglas fir growth rates. Researchers sought to shed some light on the debate on whether carbon sequestration is maximized with shorter rotations. [the findings were published in the journal Forests]

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