Ecosystem carbon stocks and sequestration potential of federal lands across the conterminous United States

By: , and 



Federal lands across the conterminous United States (CONUS) account for 23.5% of the CONUS terrestrial area but have received no systematic studies on their ecosystem carbon (C) dynamics and contribution to the national C budgets. The methodology for US Congress-mandated national biological C sequestration potential assessment was used to evaluate ecosystem C dynamics in CONUS federal lands at present and in the future under three Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emission Scenarios (IPCC SRES) A1B, A2, and B1. The total ecosystem C stock was estimated as 11,613 Tg C in 2005 and projected to be 13,965 Tg C in 2050, an average increase of 19.4% from the baseline. The projected annual C sequestration rate (in kilograms of carbon per hectare per year) from 2006 to 2050 would be sinks of 620 and 228 for forests and grasslands, respectively, and C sources of 13 for shrublands. The federal lands’ contribution to the national ecosystem C budget could decrease from 23.3% in 2005 to 20.8% in 2050. The C sequestration potential in the future depends not only on the footprint of individual ecosystems but also on each federal agency’s land use and management. The results presented here update our current knowledge about the baseline ecosystem C stock and sequestration potential of federal lands, which would be useful for federal agencies to decide management practices to achieve the national greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation goal.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ecosystem carbon stocks and sequestration potential of federal lands across the conterminous United States
Series title PNAS
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1512542112
Volume 112
Issue 41
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center
Description 6 p.
First page 12723
Last page 12728
Country United States
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional metadata about this publication, not found in other parts of the page is in this table