Environmental Management

, Volume 33, Supplement 1, pp S65–S73 | Cite as

A Method Countries Can Use to Estimate Changes in Carbon Stored in Harvested Wood Products and the Uncertainty of Such Estimates

  • Kenneth E. SkogEmail author
  • Kim Pingoud
  • James E. Smith


A method is suggested for estimating additions to carbon stored in harvested wood products (HWP) and for evaluating uncertainty. The method uses data on HWP production and trade from several decades and tracks annual additions to pools of HWP in use, removals from use, additions to solid waste disposal sites (SWDS), and decay from SWDS. The method is consistent with IPCC guidance for estimating emissions from SWDS. Uncertainty is postulated in the form of probability density functions for 14 variables, using Monte Carlo simulation. Results for the United States suggest that uncertainty is most sensitive to uncertainty in production data for solidwood products, the factor used to convert products to carbon, and the proportion of solidwood and paper in SWDS. Uncertainty in the use (service) life of solidwood products has a limited effect because an error offsets changes in products in use and in SWDS. The method provides a starting point for meeting the aims of the IPCC Good Practice Guidance.


Carbon sequestration Harvested wood products Estimation methods 


  1. 1.
    Environmental Protection Agency. 2002a. Milestones in garbage—an historical timeline of municipal solid waste management. alt.htm. 30 December 2002.
  2. 2.
    Environmental Protection Agency. 2002b. Municipal solid waste in the United States: 2000 facts and figures. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, EPA530-R-02-001. Washington, DC. 165 pp.
  3. 3.
    Howard, J. 2001. U.S. Timber production, trade, consumption, and price statistics, 1965–1999. Res. Pap. FPL-RP-595. US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, Wisconsin, 90 pp.
  4. 4.
    IPCC. 1997. Revised 1996 IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories. Reference manual, Vol. 3. J. T. Houghton and others. IPCC/OECD/IEA, Paris, France. See
  5. 5.
    IPCC. 1999. Evaluating approaches for estimating net emissions of carbon dioxide from forest harvesting and wood products. Meeting Report, Dakar, Senegal, 5–7 May 1998. S. Brown, B. Lim, and B. Schlamadinger. IPCC/OECD/IEA, Paris, France. See
  6. 6.
    IPCC. 2000. Good practice guidance and uncertainty management in national greenhouse gas inventories. J. Penman and others. IPCC National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Japan. See
  7. 7.
    Micales, J. A., Skog, K. E. 1997The decomposition of forest products in landfills.International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation39145158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Morgan, M. G., Henrion, M. 1990Uncertainty: a guide to the treatment of uncertainty in quantitative policy and risk analysis.Cambridge University PressNew York332Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pingoud, K., Perälä, A.-L., Pussinen, A. 2001Carbon dynamics in wood products.Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change691111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Skog, K., Nicholson, G. 1998Carbon cycling through wood products: the role of wood and paper products in carbon sequestration.Forest Products Journal487583Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Smith, J. E., Heath, L. S. 2001Identifying influences on model uncertainty: an application using a forest carbon budget model.Environmental Management27253267CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. 2002. FAOSTAT Forestry data. 1 July 2002.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Vose, D. 1996Quantitative risk analysis: a guide to Monte Carlo simulation modeling.John Wiley & SonsChichester, England328Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Forest Products LaboratoryUSDA Forest Service, One Gifford Pinchot Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53726-2398USA
  2. 2.Finish Forest Research InstituteUnioninkatu 40 A, Hesinki, Finland Fin-00170
  3. 3.Northeastern Forest Research StationUSDA Forest Service, Durham, New Hampshire 03824USA

Personalised recommendations