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Paul Fischer, University of Washington, pwfischer11@gmail.com (Presenter)
Gregory J. Ettl, , ettl@uw.edu
Jeff Comnick, University of Washington, jcomnick@uw.edu
Sandor Toth, , toths@uw.edu
Nora Konnyu, University of Washington, nk6@uw.edu
Kevin Ceder, University of Washington, thuja@uw.edu

 

Forest managers and carbon project developers are interested in the effects of specific forest management practices on carbon (C) sequestration and potential for developing carbon credits. This study models the C sequestration potential of various management practices using stand-level survey data from a 1,740-hectare forest in western Washington. Forest growth and harvest were simulated 30 years into the future using the Forest Service Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS). Simulated scenarios included: 45-year rotations of clearcut harvesting; 65- and 105-year rotations based on the Forest Stewardship Council’s (FSC) Pacific Coast Standard; thinning-only; and no-harvest. Multi-objective optimization was used to maximize net present timber value while constraining the harvest schedule to increase C. Carbon pools included were above- and below-ground biomass, snags, logs, and harvested wood products. Potential for C credits was calculated using Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard, and American Carbon Registry methodologies. The baseline inventory was 305 Gg C. The 45-year clearcut rotation sequestered 353 Gg of on-site C forest-wide over the 30 years. Less intensive management regimes sequestered increasing C: FSC-65-year rotation (388 Gg), FSC-105-year rotation (406 Gg), thinning only (506 Gg), and no harvest (528 Gg. A 45-year clearcut with a 40.5 hectare habitat reserve sequestered as much C (389 Gg C) as the FSC-65 year rotation scenario but with greater projected timber revenue. The FSC-105 scenario broke even, while the thinning-only scenario resulted in negative cash flow, indicating surprising tradeoffs between management, revenue, and C sequestration. Non-production reserves may offer an efficient way to store C.