The Potential of U.S. Forest Soils to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect  book cover
1st Edition

The Potential of U.S. Forest Soils to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect

ISBN 9780367454760
Published December 2, 2019 by CRC Press
448 Pages 99 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Much attention has been given to above ground biomass and its potential as a carbon sink, but in a mature forest ecosystem 40 to 60 percent of the stored carbon is below ground. As increasing numbers of forests are managed in a wide diversity of climates and soils, the importance of forest soils as a potential carbon sink grows.

The Potential of U.S. Forest Soils to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect provides researchers and policy makers with an understanding of soil processes and their relation to carbon dynamics, as well as strategies to monitor and techniques to measure forest soil carbon. It covers the effects of management on soils in a wide range of forest ecosystems together with policy options that are effective and benefit both the forest community and the over all environment. This valuable reference provides forest managers, urban planners, land owners, policy makers, and the general public with guidance that will allow for a holistic approach to land management, environmental quality, and improved forest productivity.

Table of Contents

Introduction and General Description of US Forests, J.M. Kimble, R.A. Birdsey, R. Lal, and L.S. Heath
Current and Historical Trends in use, Management and Disturbance of United States Forest Lands, R.A. Birdsey and G.M. Lewis
Carbon Trends in US Forest Lands: A Context for the Role of Soils in Forest Carbon Sequestration, L.S. Heath, J.E. Smith and R.A. Birdsey
Quantifying the Organic Carbon Held in Forested Soils of the United States and Puerto Rico, M. Johnson and J. Kern
Techniques to Measure and Strategies to Monitor Forest Soil Carbon, C. Palmer
Carbon Cycling in Forest Ecosystems with an Emphasis on Belowground Processes, K.S. Pregitzer
Forest Soil Ecology and Soil Organic Carbon, S.J. Morris and E.A. Paul
Global Change and Forest Soils, J. Hom
Processes Affecting Carbon Storage in the Forest Floor and in Downed Woody Debris, W.S. Currie, R.D. Yanai, K.B. Piatek, C.E. Prescott, and C.L. Goodale
Impacts of Natural Disturbance on Soil Carbon Dynamics in Forest Ecosystems, S.T. Overby, S.C. Hart, and D.G. Neary
Soil Erosion in Forest Ecosystems and Carbon Dynamics, W.J. Elliot
Impact of Soil Restoration, Management, and Land Use History on Forest Soil Carbon, W. M. Post
Fire and Fire Suppression Impacts on Forest Soil Carbon
D. Page-Dumroese, M. Jurgensen and A. Harvey
Soil Carbon Sequestration and Forest Management: Challenges and Opportunities, C.M. Hoover
Management Impacts on Compaction in Forest Soils, R. Lal
Soil Carbon in Permafrost Dominated Boreal Forests, J. Hom
Soil Carbon Distribution in High-Elevation Forests of the U.S.A., J.G. Bockheim
Soil Carbon in Arid and Semiarid Forest Ecosystems, D.G. Neary, S.T. Overby and S.C. Hart
Carbon Cycling in Wetland Forest Soils, C. Trettin and M.F. Jurgensen
Carbon Storage in North American Agroforestry Systems, P.K. Nair and V.D. Nair
Soil Carbon in Urban Forest Ecosystems, R. Pouyat, J. Russell-Anelli, I. Yesilonis, and P.M. Groffman
Soil Organic Carbon in Tropical Forests of the United States of America, W.L. Silver, A.E. Lugo, and D. Farmer
The Potential of U.S. Forest Soils to Sequester Carbon, L.S. Heath, J.M. Kimble, R.A. Birdsey, and R. Lal
Economic Analysis of Soil Carbon in Afforestation and Forest Management Decisions, B. Sohngen, R. Alig, and Suk-won Choi
Research and Development Priorities for Carbon Sequestration in Forest Soils, R. Lal

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John M. Kimble, Ph.D., is a research soil scientist at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center, in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he been for the last 21 years. Previously he was a field soil scientist in Wyoming for 3 years and an area soil scientist in California for three years. He has received the International Soil Science Award from the Soil Science Society of America. While in Lincoln, he worked on a U.S. Agency for International Development Project for 11 years, helping developing countries with their soil resources, and he remains active in international activities. For the last ten years he has focused more on global climate change and the role soils can play in this area. His scientific publications deal with topics related to soil classification, soil management, global climate change, and sustainable development. He has worked in many different ecoregions, from the Antarctic to the Arctic and all points in between. With the other editors of this book, he has led the efforts to increase the overall knowledge of soils and their relationship to global climate change. He has collaborated with Dr. Rattan Lal, Dr. Ronald Follett, and others to produce 11 books related to the role of soils in global climate change.

Linda S. Heath, Ph.D. is a research forester and project leader with the USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station, in Durham, New Hampshire. For the past 10 years, she has focused on modeling carbon storage and flux of forest ecosystems of the United States, including carbon in harvested wood, and uncertainties of the system. Her estimates of forest carbon are used by the U.S. government in reporting forest carbon sinks, including forest-soil carbon, to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in its annual inventory of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions and sinks. As project leader, she supervises scientists conducting research in quantitative techniques to measure various components of forests and in understanding and modeling the forest carbon cycle. Prior to the Northeastern Research Station, she worked for 2 years as an assistant district ranger in West Virginia and for a year as a scientist with the Pacific Northwest Research Station. In addition to national-level work, she has worked on forest carbon at the regional, state, and local levels, including sustainability carbon indicators for the northeastern United States and the State of Oregon and down deadwood studies in New England.

Richard A. Birdsey, Ph.D., is the program manager for global change research at the USDA Forest Service Northeastern and North Central Forest Experiment Stations, where he has been for more than ten years. Previously he worked for 13 years as a scientist and manager with the Forest Inventory and Analysis Program of the USDA Forest Service. He received a Ph.D. degree in quantitative methods from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Dr. Birdsey is a specialist in quantitative methods for large-scale forest inventories and was a pioneer in the development of methods to estimate national carbon budgets for forestlands from forest inventory data. Working with Dr. Linda Heath and others, he has helped compile and publish estimates of historical and prospective U.S. forest carbon sources and sinks, and he has analyzed options for increasing the role of U.S. forests as carbon sinks. This work comprises the official estimates for the forestry sector reported by EPA and other agencies as part of the inventory of U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions. He has worked with colleagues in Russia and China to develop methods to inventory and monitor forest carbon in those countries. Currently serving as program manager, Dr. Birdsey is coordinating a national effort to improve the inventory and monitoring of forest carbon to identify forest-management strategies to increase carbon sequestration, to understand and quantify the prospective impacts of climate change on U.S. forests and forest products, and to develop adaptation strategies.

Rattan Lal, Ph.D., is a professor of soil science in the School of Natural Resources at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining Ohio State in 1987, he served as a soil scientist for 18 years at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan, Nigeria. In Africa, Professor Lal conducted long-term experiments on soil erosion processes as influenced by rainfall characteristics, soil properties, methods of deforestation, soil-tillage and crop-residue management, cropping systems including cover crops and agroforestry, and mixed/relay cropping methods. He also assessed the impact of soil erosion on crop yield and related erosion-induced changes in soil properties to crop growth and yield. Since joining The Ohio State University in 1987, he has continued research on erosion-induced changes in soil quality and developed a new project on soils and global warming. He has demonstrated that accelerated soil erosion is a major factor affecting emission of carbon from soil to the atmosphere. Soil-erosion control and adoption of conservation-effective measures can lead to carbon sequestration and mitigation of the greenhouse effect. Professor Lal is a fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Third World Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Soil and Water Conservation Society, and Indian Academy of Agricultural Sciences. He is the recipient of the International Soil Science Award, the Soil Science Applied Research Award of the Soil Science Society of America, the International Agronomy Award of the American Society of Agronomy, and the Hugh Hammond Bennett Award of the Soil and Water Conservation Society. He is the recipient of an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Punjab Agricultural University, India. He is past president of the World Association of the Soil and Water Conservation and the International Soil Tillage Research Organization. He is a member of the U.S. National Committee on Soil Science of the National Academy of Sciences. He has served on the Panel on Sustainable Agriculture and the Environment in the Humid Tropics of the National Academy of Sciences.


"The chapters' organizational consistency (introduction, meaty analysis, conclusion) enhances assimilation of the abundant data gathered and clearly points to what is and is not known. Most of the concluding sections indicate what yet needs to be learned about this very dynamic process of sequestering. . . Abundant graphs, maps, and tables; very complete citation list. ^BSumming Up: Recommended."
-E.J. Kormondy, emeritus, University of Hawaii at Hilo