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Forest Carbon Sequestration ...Nature Helping Our Environment

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major greenhouse gas that contributes to Earth's global warming

Capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) gas in the atmosphere and producing O2 is what forest do! The carbon stored in a forest can be sequestered in wood for hundreds of years. Sustainable forest practices help maximize the forest growth and benefits.

An EPA study looks at forest biomass in five components:
1. Above Ground Biomass includes all living biomass above the soil including stems, stumps, branches, bark, seeds, and foliage. This category includes live understory.
2. Below Ground Biomass includes all living biomass of coarse living roots thicker than 2 millimeters in diameter.
3. Dead Wood includes all non-living woody biomass either standing, lying on the ground (but not including litter), or in the soil.
4. Forest Floor litter includes the litter, fumic, and humic layers, and all non-living biomass with a diameter less than 7.5 centimeters, lying on the ground.
5. Soil Organic Carbon includes all organic material in soil to a depth of 1 meter but excluding the coarse roots of the below ground pools.

Of the five forest components, soil carbon accounts for the largest reservoir of carbon (about 56 percent of total forest carbon), followed by above ground biomass (about 28 percent). This study helps one better optimize Sustainable forest practices for Carbon Sequestration.

Trees that can grow 20 to 2,000 years, depending on the species, location, and intent of the planting. Lumber may then be used to construct homes which can then last hundreds of years, keeping the carbon sequestered.

Afforestation (previously cropland/pasture) and Reforestation offer high levels of Carbon Sequestration, estimated at 1.1 to 9.5 metric tons of CO2 per acre per year. (U.S. Tree Planting for Carbon Sequestration Congressional Research Service Report). The faster growth rates result in the high rates of Carbon Sequestration.

New York State, at 60-80 percent forest, is in the top 12 states for forestation in the United States.

"An approximate value for a 50-year-old oak forest would be 30,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestered per acre", said Timothy J. Fahey, professor of ecology in the department of natural resources at Cornell University. "The forest would be emitting about 22,000 pounds of oxygen." The Environmental Protection Agency has calculated the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average car as of 2007 at about five metric tons, more than 11,000 pounds, so a single acre of woodlot would be countering the emissions of about 2.7 cars. (

Learn More:
Greenhouse Gas

Carbon Credits

A carbon credit is a generic term for any tradable certificate or permit representing the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas. A tonne (metric ton) is equal to 1,000 kilograms or approximately 2,204.6 pounds (Wikipedia).


  • 500 acre forest sequesters about 15 million pounds or 6,800 metric tons of CO2 per year.
  • In the same year, it will release 11 million pounds (5,000 metric ton) of Oxygen.
  • Accounting for total intake of air, percent oxygen and lung efficiency; at about 0.74 metric ton of oxygen per year per person, the 500 acres equates to the oxygen supply for 6,700 individuals for the year.
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