Forest Carbon Uptake Over 22 Years in a Northeastern U.S. Temperate Forest

Temperate forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle by sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide and storing above-ground and below-ground carbon. Quantifying these carbon (C) pools and fluxes is critical in understanding temperate forests’ relevance in reversing global warming. As forests age, tree growth is one of the primary ways in which carbon accumulates. Therefore, by measuring tree growth, an increase in forest carbon stock over time can be evaluated. The changes in C stocks were calculated over 22 years in 20 study plots located in the Pennsylvania Game Commission Lands 176. The 20 plots were measured with identical surveying techniques in 1997 and 2019 to compare the change in above-ground C over the last 22 years. Trees with greater than 11 cm diameter at breast height (DBH) were used in allometric equations to estimate above-ground wood carbon (Chojnacky et al 2013). Tree stem carbon estimates and leaf litter values from similar forest sites (Aber 1993) were added to yield an estimated Above-ground Net Primary Productivity (ANPP) for each site. As a result, an average ANPP value of 0.540 kg/m 2 /yr predicts the forests’ tree growth and subsequent increase in C stock since 1997. In addition, plots 16,17, and 18 were surveyed in 2019 to estimate the forests’ current below-ground C stock. An average carbon per unit area of the O- Horizon and A-Horizon soil layers were estimated at 1.88 kg/m 2. However, these values are a small representation of the forest carbon cycle in Northeastern U.S. Temperate Forests. Significant forest C datum is missing within the scientific community, therefore further research must be conducted to establish a proper assessment of the US regional carbon cycle. Since forests serve as large carbon sinks, estimating the most accurate total carbon sequestration in temperate forests is essential in reversing global warming.

Monday Poster Session
Gabriel Batista
Emma Lancaster
Related Conference Themes
Land Use