Oregon’s forests are among the highest carbon density forests in the world, and have the potential to store more. By 2100, four land use strategies are projected to increase forest carbon uptake by 56 percent and decrease emissions. Lengthening harvest cycles to 80 years and restricting harvest on public lands contributes the most to these increases, followed by reforestation and afforestation within current forest boundaries, and afforestation of irrigated grass crops. These strategies are feasible and may be implemented immediately.
Co-benefits are increased biodiversity of forest species and increased water availability. Using half of harvest residues for bioenergy production would not reduce emissions. This approach – which includes observations, earth system modeling of the effects of future climate, atmospheric CO2, harvest on forests, and a life cycle assessment that tracks wood product emissions – may be applied in other temperate regions to evaluate climate mitigation options.
NIFA supports this research through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program.
Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.