Managing Moist Forests of the Pacific Northwest United States for Climate Positive Outcomes

Fain, S.J.; Kittler, B.; Chowyuk, A. Managing Moist Forests of the Pacific Northwest United States for Climate Positive Outcomes. Forests 2018, 9, 618.
Year Published: 

The moist forests of the Pacific Northwest United States (PNW) are among the most naturally carbon rich ecoregions in the world. However, regional in-forest carbon storage levels are currently well below ecological potential. Recent climate policy proposals have renewed and deepened debates over forest sector climate strategies. This paper begins with a review of regionally applicable forest carbon life cycle assessments (LCAs) in an effort to provide some clarity around how these studies are conducted, and why their results may vary. The review highlights the importance of assumptions made during carbon accounting across the wood product lifespan and how the inclusion or exclusions of variables, such as product substitution and leakage, influence study results and subsequent management recommendations. Next we discuss the influence of climate change on forest management and planning. We conclude with a review of regional-specific factors to consider when developing optimal forest climate strategies in the moist forests of the PNW. These strategies include, but are not limited to; extending harvest rotations, shelterwood and select tree harvests (in lieu of full harvest), and managing forests for increased structural, age, and species complexity.

Forests, carbon sequestration, climate policy, forest policy, life cycle assessments, forest management