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Accountable Accounting: Carbon-Based Management on Marginal Lands

Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3114, USA
Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94704, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2014, 5(4), 847-861;
Received: 20 January 2014 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 11 April 2014 / Published: 23 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest and Wood Vegetation Carbon Stores and Sequestration)
Substantial discussion exists concerning the best land use options for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on marginal land. Emissions-mitigating land use options include displacement of fossil fuels via biofuel production and afforestation. Comparing C recovery dynamics under these different options is crucial to assessing the efficacy of offset programs. In this paper, we focus on forest recovery on marginal land, and show that there is substantial inaccuracy and discrepancy in the literature concerning carbon accumulation. We find that uncertainty in carbon accumulation occurs in estimations of carbon stocks and models of carbon dynamics over time. We suggest that analyses to date have been largely unsuccessful at determining reliable trends in site recovery due to broad land use categories, a failure to consider the effect of current and post-restoration management, and problems with meta-analysis. Understanding of C recovery could be greatly improved with increased data collection on pre-restoration site quality, prior land use history, and management practices as well as increased methodological standardization. Finally, given the current and likely future uncertainty in C dynamics, we recommend carbon mitigation potential should not be the only environmental service driving land use decisions on marginal lands. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest carbon sequestration; carbon dynamics; land-use change; forest recovery; afforestation forest carbon sequestration; carbon dynamics; land-use change; forest recovery; afforestation
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DiRocco, T.L.; Ramage, B.S.; Evans, S.G.; Potts, M.D. Accountable Accounting: Carbon-Based Management on Marginal Lands. Forests 2014, 5, 847-861.

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