Carbon sequestration via wood harvest and storage: An assessment of its harvest potential
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
A carbon sequestration strategy has recently been proposed in which a forest is actively managed, and a fraction of the wood is selectively harvested and stored to prevent decomposition. The forest serves as a ‘carbon scrubber’ or ‘carbon remover’ that provides continuous sequestration (negative emissions). Earlier estimates of the theoretical potential of wood harvest and storage (WHS) based on coarse wood production rates were 10 ± 5 GtC y−1. Starting from this physical limit, here we apply a number of practical constraints: (1) land not available due to agriculture; (2) forest set aside as protected areas, assuming 50 % in the tropics and 20 % in temperate and boreal forests; (3) forests difficult to access due to steep terrain; (4) wood use for other purposes such as timber and paper. This ‘top-down’ approach yields a WHS potential 2.8 GtC y−1. Alternatively, a ‘bottom-up’ approach, assuming more efficient wood use without increasing harvest, finds 0.1–0.5 GtC y−1 available for carbon sequestration. We suggest a range of 1–3 GtC y−1 carbon sequestration potential if major effort is made to expand managed forests and/or to increase harvest intensity. The implementation of such a scheme at our estimated lower value of 1 GtC y−1 would imply a doubling of the current world wood harvest rate. This can be achieved by harvesting wood at a moderate harvesting intensity of 1.2 tC ha−1 y−1, over a forest area of 8 Mkm2 (800 Mha). To achieve the higher value of 3 GtC y−1, forests need to be managed this way on half of the world’s forested land, or on a smaller area but with higher harvest intensity. We recommend WHS be considered part of the portfolio of climate mitigation and adaptation options that needs further research.
- Boden TA, Marland G, Andres RJ (2011) Global, regional, and national fossil-fuel CO2 emissions. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A
- Dyson FJ (1977) Can we control the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Energy 2:287–291 CrossRef
- Dyson FJ, Marland G (1979) Technical fixes for the climatic effects of CO2. In: Elliott WP, Machta L (eds) Carbon Dioxide Effects Research and Assessment Program, Workshop on the Global Effects of Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuels, US Department of Energy.
- FAO (2005) The global forest resources assessment 2005. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, p 350
- FAO (2010) The global forest resources assessment 2010. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, p 340
- Fargione J, Hill J, Tilman D, Polasky S, Hawthorne P (2008) Land clearing and the biofuel carbon debt. Science 319:1235–1238 CrossRef
- Goldewijk KK (2001) Estimating global land use change over the past 300 years: the HYDE database. Global Biogeochem Cycles 15:417–433 CrossRef
- Hashimoto S, Noseb M, Obarac T, Moriguchi Y (2002) Wood products: potential carbon sequestration and impact on net carbon emissions of industrialized countries. Environ Sci Pol 5:183–193 CrossRef
- IEA (2009) World energy outlook 2009 edition - climate change excerpt. International Energy Agency, Paris, p 62 CrossRef
- Ingerson A (2009) Wood products and carbon storage: can increased production help solve the climate crisis? Wilderness Society, Washington, D.C., p 47
- IPCC (2000) Special report on land use, land-use change and forestry. Cambridge University Press.
- IPCC (2005) Special report: carbon dioxide capture and storage. Cambridge University Press.
- Jansson C, Wullschleger SD, Kalluri UC, Tuskan GA (2010) Phytosequestration: carbon biosequestration by plants and the prospects of genetic engineering. Bioscience 60:685–696 CrossRef
- Lal R (2003) Global potential of soil carbon sequestration to mitigate the greenhouse effect. Crit Rev Plant Sci 22:151–184 CrossRef
- Lehmann J, Gaunt J, Rondon M (2006) Bio-char sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems-a review. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 11:403–427 CrossRef
- Lenton TM (2010) The potential for land-based biological CO2 removal to lower future atmospheric CO2 concentration. Carbon Manag 1:145–160 CrossRef
- Metzger RA, Benford G (2001) Sequestering of atmospheric carbon through permanent disposal of crop residue. Clim Chang 49:11–19 CrossRef
- Micales JA, Skog KE (1997) The decomposition of forest products in landfills. Int Biodeterior Biodegrad 39:145–158 CrossRef
- Pacala S, Socolow R (2004) Stabilization wedges: solving the climate problem for the next 50 years with current technologies. Science 305:968–972 CrossRef
- Read P (2008) Biosphere carbon stock management: addressing the threat of abrupt climate change in the next few decades: an editorial essay. Clim Chang 87:305–320 CrossRef
- Royal Society (2009) Geoengineering the climate: science, governance and uncertainty. London.
- Ryan MG, Harmon ME, Birdsey RA, Giardina CP, Heath LS, Houghton RA, Jackson RB, McKinley DC, Morrison JF, Murray BC, Pataki DE, Skog KE (2010) A synthesis of the science on forests and carbon for U.S. forests. Issues in Ecology, Washington, DC, p. 16.
- Scholz F, Hasse U (2008) Permanent wood sequestration: the solution to the global carbon dioxide problem. Chemsuschem 1:381–384 CrossRef
- Skog KE (2008) Sequestration of carbon in harvested wood products for the United States. For Prod J 58:56–72
- Stern N (2007) The economics of climate change: the Stern review. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, p 692
- Strand SE, Benford G (2009) Ocean sequestration of crop residue carbon: recycling fossil fuel carbon back to deep sediments. Environ Sci Technol 43:1000–1007 CrossRef
- van der Werf GR, Morton DC, DeFries RS, Olivier JGJ, Kasibhatla PS, Jackson RB, Collatz GJ, Randerson JT (2009) CO2 emissions from forest loss. Nat Geosci 2:737–738 CrossRef
- Winjum JK, Brown S, Schlamadinger B (1998) Forest harvests and wood products: sources and sinks of atmospheric carbon dioxide. For Sci 44:272–284
- Wise M, Calvin K, Thomson A, Clarke L, Bond-Lamberty B, Sands R, Smith SJ, Janetos A, Edmonds J (2009) Implications of limiting CO2 concentrations for land use and energy. Science 324:1183–1186 CrossRef
- Woolf D, Amonette JE, Street-Perrott FA, Lehmann J, Joseph S (2010) Sustainable biochar to mitigate global climate change. Nat Commun 1.
- Zeng N (2003) Glacial-interglacial atmospheric CO2 change - the glacial burial hypothesis. Adv Atmos Sci 20:677–693 CrossRef
- Zeng N (2008) Carbon sequestration via wood burial. Carbon Balance Manag 3, 1.
- Zeng N, Mariotti A, Wetzel P (2005) Terrestrial mechanisms of interannual CO2 variability. Glob Biogeochem Cycles 19.
- Carbon sequestration via wood harvest and storage: An assessment of its harvest potential
Volume 118, Issue 2 , pp 245-257
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
- 2. Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, USA
- 3. Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
- 4. Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, Denmark
- 5. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing, China
- 6. Climate and Weather Services, MDA Information Systems Inc., Gaithersburg, MD, USA