Carbon Trends and Management

Carbon Trends and Management uses creative combinations of new and existing information and data to address questions about the sequestration, variability, vulnerability, and management of forest carbon.


The Carbon Trends and Management theme encompasses several NIACS efforts to synthesize large-scale carbon datasets, produce assessments of forest carbon, find new applications for existing data resources, and inform the management of forest carbon. This work complements wider collaborative efforts led by NIACS team members to evaluate topics including forest biomass production, soil carbon sequestration, and land-use change, at multiple spatial and temporal scales.



The NIACS carbon team has been quick to expand into new areas to address the growing demand for carbon science, information, and resources, resulting in a long list of publications and outreach activities. 

handful of soil with organic matter

Several new publications helped advance scientific understanding of forest carbon. Luke Nave, Chris Swanston, and partners teamed up with researchers to publish two papers highlighting the benefits of reforestation for carbon sequestration. The papers represent the team’s latest creative uses of data from the International Soil Carbon Network (ISCN), FIA, and other major sources to address critical carbon cycle questions; in this case, to quantify the carbon benefits of reforestation at national to ecoregional levels. Additionally, Luke Nave has remained closely involved in the ISCN, which originated in NIACS, and joined its Scientific Steering Group in FY18. Kate Heckman continues to lead a soil carbon synthesis group supported by the USGS Powell Center, and has extended this work with a new grant from USDA-NIFA.

NIACS has also been hard at work supporting forest carbon management. NIACS was instrumental in the development of the Natural and Working Lands Learning Lab, which was held in July 2018 and sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and led by American Forests. A new forest adaptation demonstration site has been initiated at the 10,000-acre University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) that will blend carbon considerations and adaptation resources developed through the Climate Change Response Framework. 



Look for exciting developments in the next year, including the publication of a menu of Strategies and Approaches for Forest Carbon Management and generation of demonstration projects that integrate climate change adaptation and carbon management. NIACS staff are contributing to an online course for forest carbon management and inventory, which is being developed by Michigan State University for release next year. New carbon-focused collaborations leveraging the Adaptive Silviculture for Climate Change network are also in development. Rigorous, peer-reviewed science will continue, with several book chapters and journal publications underway.


2018 Fast Facts

Top 5% of all tracked research outputs

more than 340 soil samples from NEON sites analyzed for Radiocarbon

146 attention score of the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper

5 peer-reviewed journal articles published or accepted in 2018