Potential Carbon Flux from Timber Harvests and Management in the Context of a Global Timber Market

By Brent Sohngen and Roger Sedjo

This paper presents carbon flux estimates arising from the effect of increasing demand on harvests and management of industrial forests in a global timber market. Results are presented for specific regions and the globe. Harvests and management of forests is predicted to store an additional 184 Tg (1 Tg = 1012 grams) of carbon per year in forests and wood products over the next 50 years, with a range of 108 to 251 Tg per year. Although harvests in natural boreal and tropical forest regions will cause carbon releases, new plantation establishment in subtropical emerging regions more than offsets these losses. Unlike many existing studies, these results suggest that harvests and management of North American forests will lead to carbon emissions from that region over the next 50 years. The results are quantitatively sensitive to the assumed growth in demand although the results are qualitatively similar in the sensitivity analysis.

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Publication type: 
Working paper
Date published: 
Friday, April 23, 1999