Climatic Change

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 5-37

First online:

Dynamics of Russian Forests and the Carbon Budget in 1961–1998: An Assessment Based on Long-Term Forest Inventory Data

  • Anatoly ShvidenkoAffiliated withInternational Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
  • , Sten NilssonAffiliated withInternational Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

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Development trends of Russian forests and their impact on the global carbon budget were assessed at the national level on the basis of long-term forest inventory data (1961–1998). Over this period, vegetation of Russian forest lands are estimated as a carbon sink, with an annual average level of carbon sequestration in vegetational organic matter of 210 ± 30 Tg C · yr−1 (soil carbon is not considered in this study), of which 153 Tg C · yr−1 were accumulated in live biomass and 57 Tg C · yr−1 in dead wood. The temporal variability of the sink is very large; for the five-year averages used in the analysis, the C sequestration varies from about 60 to above 300 Tg C· yr−1. It is shown that long-term forest inventory data could serve as an important information base for assessing crucial indicators of full carbon accounting of forests.