Assessment of State-Level Capacity and Interest in Forest Carbon Data, Modeling, and Policy Linkages

Short Description

As a part of the Forest Carbon Data and Modeling Integration and Evaluation Project, made possible with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Eastern Region, Michigan State University’s Forest Carbon and Climate Program (FCCP) has produced a series of six resource guides on key topics in state-level forest carbon inventorying and modeling. Topics include basics on forest carbon science and management, forest inventory data and carbon calculations, the carbon modeling landscape, dealing with data uncertainty, accessing FIA data and emerging FIA applications, harvested wood products, and linkages with policymaking.

Each guide introduces the topic as well as a list of additional resource materials to allow for a deeper dive according to individual needs, curiosity, and interests. The specific topics selected were identified as important following expert interviews and a survey conducted over 2021-2022, each of which represented diverse perspectives and state-level knowledge transfer needs. 

  • Background Topic: Forest Carbon and Forest Carbon Management. An overview of forest carbon science and management, an important precursor to conversations about forest carbon modeling. The topic explores carbon stored in both ecological systems and harvested wood products.
  • Topic 1: Forest Inventory Data and Methodologies for Carbon Estimation. Covers the basics on forest inventory methodologies and estimation, including considerations for scaling carbon estimates from the tree to the landscape level.
  • Topic 2: Understanding the Landscape of Modeling Approaches and Best Practices for Addressing and Interpreting Uncertainty. Describes conceptual frameworks and approaches to modeling forest carbon dynamics and creates a blueprint for best practices in handling data and uncertainty in the modeling process.
  • Topic 3: Accessing and Applications of FIA Data for Modeling. This paper outlines software, data, and modeling tools available to access and utilize FIA data and provides a look at emerging applications for FIA data use.
  • Topic 4: Forest Products Data and Modeling Considerations. Introduces Timber Product Output (TPO) data on harvested wood products (HWPs) and provides guidance on additional considerations for HWP carbon estimation, including exports, product life cycles and retirement, leakage, and substitution.
  • Topic 5: Linking Forest Carbon Modeling with State Decision-Making and Communication. This paper outlines existing state-level policy levers impacting forest carbon as well as discusses the economic, political, and environmental tradeoffs and co-benefits associated with forest carbon management.

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