Carbon In Wisconsin Forests

By Brian Anderson, WI DNR Forest Inventory Analyst and Dan Buckler, WI DNR Urban Forest Assessment Specialist

Wisconsin forests play a major role in accumulating carbon from the atmosphere, but not all forests sequester and store carbon in the same way over time. A new document identifies some of these differences and outlines key metrics of carbon in Wisconsin’s forests.

Titled “Carbon in Wisconsin’s Forests,”​ the document breaks down amounts of carbon storage and rates of carbon sequestration by variables such as forest carbon pool, forest type, age class and conversions between land types and forests. The document also defines key terms such as carbon storage, flux, sequestration and carbon pools. Additionally, graphics illustrating changes over time and where carbon is stored in forests and trees are provided.

The document can help to visualize carbon data and trends, while providing enough detail for interested parties to take a deeper dive.

A teaser of key findings: the maple-beech-birch cover type contains the highest values of carbon per acre in tree material (excluding soils), while soil contains the greatest amount of carbon of all forest carbon pools. Carbon sequestration rates vary greatly by stand age depending on forest type. Lastly, sequestration rates have increased slightly over the last 30 years, while total carbon stored in live trees in the same time period has increased by 37%, or a rate of about 1.2% annually.

The document can be accessed via the Forest Inventory and Industry Reports webpage. Check it out here

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