Carbon Storage And Carbon Credits For Forest Management The Good, The Bad, And The UglyPresentation Transcript
Carbon Storage and Carbon Credits for Forest Management: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Mike Ryan USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station Fort Collins, CO 80526 [email_address] http://lamar.colostate.edu/~mryan
From SOCCR Report: http://www.climatescience.gov Why does the carbon cycle matter? CO 2 absorbs radiation from earth and warms it Rising CO 2 increases ocean acidity CO 2 was not higher than 280 ppm for > 400,000 years Rising CO 2 shows an imbalance between sources and sinks
Global C Cycle
Reservoirs in plants and soil are similar to fossil fuels
Fluxes to and from plants and soil are large
Fluxes – how much enters and how much leaves a pool per unit time Pools – how much C is in a given location
From SOCCR Report: http://www.climatescience.gov US forests and long-lived wood products offset about 12-20% of fossil-fuel emissions North America Mt = (10 12 g) CCSP, 2007. The First State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR): The North American Carbon Budget and Implications for the Global Carbon Cycle .
10% is Huge!
To get another 10%:
Convert entire US auto fleet to hybrid gas mileage
Convert 1/3 current Ag land to forests.
Why the Uncertainty?
SOCCR Report includes large estimates for carbon stored in soil (highly uncertain).
Woodbury et al (2007) has a much lower rate for carbon stored in soil.
US Forest Carbon Balance 1800-1950: Forest Disturbance on a Massive Scale-the Industrial Revolution Birdsey, R., K. Pregitzer, and A. Lucier. 2006. Forest carbon management in the United States: 1600-2100. Journal of Environmental Quality 35:1461-1469. In 1915, emissions from forests were 760 million tons C per year Photo courtesy of University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections, KIN084. ?
In 2000, sequestration by forests was ~200 million tons C per year US Forest Carbon Balance 1950 to 2008: Forest Regrowth on a Massive Scale Birdsey, R., K. Pregitzer, and A. Lucier. 2006. Forest carbon management in the United States: 1600-2100. Journal of Environmental Quality 35:1461-1469. Photo by Mike Ryan
Forest carbon has a cycle: after disturbance, loss and recovery Photo by Mike Ryan Photo by Dan Kashian Photo by National Park Service Photo by Mike Ryan
Ecosystems that regenerate forests after disturbance (harvesting, fire, bugs) will recover all of the carbon lost
The larger the landscape, the more stable the carbon seems
How Does Fire Change Forest Carbon? Fire kills trees, it doesn’t consume them; Fire losses of foliage and forest floor are only ~10-20% of the site carbon Photo by Dan Kashian Photo by AZ Dept Emergency Mgmt
Fire would reduce carbon storage on the YNP landscape only if stand-replacing fires become much more frequent (return intervals < 50 yrs)
What happens with no regeneration? Example: Hayman Fire, Colorado, 2002 Photo by Merrill Kaufmann, USFS
Bottom line: After a fire, if a forest replaces itself, there is little net loss or gain of carbon over a fire cycle
What about MPB Outbreak? Example: Colorado, 1998-? Photo by Merrill Kaufmann, USFS
Forest Ecology – Bottom Line
Disturbance does not cause C loss, unless forest does not regenerate
Carbon is best evaluated over large scales of space and time
The timing isn’t important
Photo by Mike Ryan
Scale of the Problem
Our C emissions are ~ 2 Petagrams C/yr (10^15 g)/yr
For afforestation on cropland to take up another 10% of US emissions:
44 million ha of crop or pastureland would need to be planted with trees
1/3 of current cropland
Source: Jackson and Schlesinger, PNAS 2006
Emissions for Tropical Deforestation: 1-2 Petagrams (10^15 g/year) – about the same as US fossil fuel emissions
Albedo – forests may absorb more energy than what they replace
Forest management may produce more potent greenhouse gases: NOx, isoprene, negating carbon stores
Are the forest stores permanent?
Ecological effects of afforesting prior non-forested land – lower water yield
Carbon Markets - Kyoto Regulated
Afforestation (no forest for 50 years) or reforestation (forested but cleared before 1990)
Demonstrate no leakage
Only 1% of portfolio
High costs, uncertain future, high complexity in science, legal, and business.
Protection of existing forests does not count.
Carbon Markets - Voluntary
Currently the Chicago Climate Exchange and Private Sales and Registries
Current price is ~$1.65/ton CO 2 ($6/ton C) on the CCS
Private Markets are $3-$20 ton CO 2
Key is ‘Additionality’
Currently allowed by CCX:
Afforestation (plant trees where none are)
Soil C sequestration (Agriculture)
No Universal Standards – ‘Wild West’
http://www.becomeafriend.org/carbon/report.php#capitalfund National Forest Foundation
Keeping forests as forests, particularly in the tropics (monitoring, paying for; do we need additionality?)
Afforestation of previously forested lands (leakage issues…) – tree planting in the Hayman.