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Translating national level forest service goals to local level land management: carbon sequestration


The USDA Forest Service has many national level policies related to multiple use management. However, translating national policy to stand level forest management can be difficult. As an example of how a national policy can be put into action, we examined three case studies in which a desired future condition is evaluated at the national, region, and local scale. We chose to use carbon sequestration as the desired future condition because climate change has become a major area of concern during the last decade. Several studies have determined that the 193 million acres of US national forest land currently sequester 11 to 15% of the total carbon emitted as a nation. This paper provides a framework by which national scale strategies for maintaining or enhancing forest carbon sequestration is translated through regional considerations and local constraints in adaptive management practices. Although this framework used the carbon sequestration as a case study, this framework could be used with other national level priorities such as the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) or the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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This work was supported by the USDA Forest Service Eastern Forest Environmental Threat Assessment Center cooperative agreement 11-CR-11330147-016.

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Correspondence to Steven McNulty.

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This article is part of a Special Issue on ‘Vulnerability Assessment of US Agriculture and Forests developed by the USDA Climate Hubs’ edited by Jerry L. Hatfield, Rachel Steele, Beatrice van Horne, and William Gould.

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McNulty, S., Treasure, E., Jennings, L. et al. Translating national level forest service goals to local level land management: carbon sequestration. Climatic Change 146, 133–144 (2018).

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