US Forests, Trees, and Wood Products Store Carbon, Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions — But May Wane in Capacity

Linda Heath, Acting Deputy Chief
USDA Forest Service R&D News
January 30, 2023
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States

Forests and harvested wood products, such as the lumber used in houses, store carbon dioxide. Carbon emissions, which contribute to changes in climate, are diminished when absorbed and stored by forests and wood products. Our most recent resource update, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals from Forest Land, Woodlands, and Urban Trees in the United States, 1990-2019, not only shows how forests and harvested wood products continue to store greenhouse gas emissions but also signals an anticipated, gradual reduction in the US forest carbon sink over the next few decades. …Reductions in carbon storage may be fueled by wildfire, drought, insect infestations, disease-related tree mortality, and land-use change. Despite this projected wane in carbon storage, US forested lands, wood products, and urban trees continue to represent the nation’s largest net carbon sink — offsetting more than 12 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions in 2020. Key reports include:

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