Forests 2012, 3(2), 370-397; doi:10.3390/f3020370
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Harvesting Carbon from Eastern US Forests: Opportunities and Impacts of an Expanding Bioenergy Industry

1 Department of Plant Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61820, USA 2 Energy Biosciences Institute, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61820, USA 3 Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institute for Science, Stanford, CA 94305, USA 4 Environmental Defense Fund, Boston, MA 02108, USA 5 Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA 6 Department of Environmental Science Policy and Management, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA 7 Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA 8 Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61820, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 March 2012; in revised form: 26 May 2012 / Accepted: 8 June 2012 / Published: 19 June 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Forests for Carbon Capture and Storage)
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Abstract: Eastern forests of the US are valued both as a carbon sink and a wood resource. The amount of biomass that can be harvested sustainably from this biome for bioenergy without compromising the carbon sink is uncertain. Using past literature and previously validated models, we assessed four scenarios of biomass harvest in the eastern US: partial harvests of mixed hardwood forests, pine plantation management, short-rotation woody cropping systems, and forest residue removal. We also estimated the amount and location of abandoned agricultural lands in the eastern US that could be used for biomass production. Greater carbon storage was estimated to result from partial harvests and residue removals than from plantation management and short-rotation cropping. If woody feedstocks were cultivated with a combination of intensive management on abandoned lands and partial harvests of standing forest, we estimate that roughly 176 Tg biomass y−1 (~330,000 GWh or ~16 billion gallons of ethanol) could be produced sustainably from the temperate forest biome of the eastern US. This biomass could offset up to ~63 Tg C y−1 that are emitted from fossil fuels used for heat and power generation while maintaining a terrestrial C sink of ~8 Tg C y−1.
Keywords: biofuel; woody biomass; forest management; residue; logging; temperate forest; sustainability; CHP; greenhouse gas reduction; carbon dioxide emission; carbon sequestration

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MDPI and ACS Style

Davis, S.C.; Dietze, M.; DeLucia, E.; Field, C.; Hamburg, S.P.; Loarie, S.; Parton, W.; Potts, M.; Ramage, B.; Wang, D.; Youngs, H.; Long, S.P. Harvesting Carbon from Eastern US Forests: Opportunities and Impacts of an Expanding Bioenergy Industry. Forests 2012, 3, 370-397.

AMA Style

Davis SC, Dietze M, DeLucia E, Field C, Hamburg SP, Loarie S, Parton W, Potts M, Ramage B, Wang D, Youngs H, Long SP. Harvesting Carbon from Eastern US Forests: Opportunities and Impacts of an Expanding Bioenergy Industry. Forests. 2012; 3(2):370-397.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Davis, Sarah C.; Dietze, Michael; DeLucia, Evan; Field, Chris; Hamburg, Steven P.; Loarie, Scott; Parton, William; Potts, Matthew; Ramage, Benjamin; Wang, Dan; Youngs, Heather; Long, Stephen P. 2012. "Harvesting Carbon from Eastern US Forests: Opportunities and Impacts of an Expanding Bioenergy Industry." Forests 3, no. 2: 370-397.

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