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Carbon protection and fire risk reduction: toward a full accounting of forest carbon offsets

Hurteau, Matthew D. and Koch, George W. and Hungate, Bruce A (2008) Carbon protection and fire risk reduction: toward a full accounting of forest carbon offsets. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 6 (8). pp. 493-498. ISSN 1540-9309


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/070187


Management of forests for carbon uptake is an important tool in the effort to slow the increase in atmospheric CO sub(2) and global warming. However, some current policies governing forest carbon credits actually promote avoidable CO sub(2) release and punish actions that would increase long-term carbon storage. In fire-prone forests, management that reduces the risk of catastrophic carbon release resulting from stand-replacing wild-fire is considered to be a CO sub(2) source, according to current accounting practices, even though such management may actually increase long-term carbon storage. Examining four of the largest wildfires in the US in 2002, we found that, for forest land that experienced catastrophic stand-replacing fire, prior thinning would have reduced CO sub(2) release from live tree biomass by as much as 98%. Altering carbon accounting practices for forests that have historically experienced frequent, low-severity fire could provide an incentive for forest managers to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire and associated large carbon release events.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: © 2008. Copyright by the Ecological Society of America.
ID number or DOI: 10.1890/070187
Subjects: S Agriculture > SD Forestry
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Biological Sciences
Research Centers > Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2015 18:53
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/673

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