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Forest Carbon Mapping: U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program

The storage of carbon in the form of plant and soil biomass is a crucial component of climate change mitigation, and Appalachian forests provide this service in great abundance. Forest trees utilize carbon dioxide to build mass as they grow, thus removing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in their own tissues.

The U.S. Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program has produced national-scale mapped estimates of forest carbon density at high spatial resolution (250m), using its own annual forest inventory data combined with satellite imagery and other ancillary data sets. Data cover the 2000–2009 time period and measure biomass density in megagrams per hectare.

These products allow users to examine the carbon storage contributions of different components of the forest, separately or combined: live tree aboveground carbon, live tree belowground carbon, standing dead tree carbon, downed dead tree carbon, forest litter carbon, forest soil organic carbon, and forest understory carbon. Resulting maps may be used to rank different forest landscapes in terms of their carbon storage roles, to assess the vulnerability of important places to various stressors such as forest pathogens or urbanization, and for other conservation and management applications. They are also useful as communication and education tools illustrating the role that forests play in mitigating climate change.

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Last modified: 
12/16/2015 - 21:49