Carbon Trends and Management

Carbon Trends and Management assesses the stocks, sequestration, management, and vulnerability of carbon at ecosystem to global scales and applies this knowledge through outreach to help managers incorporate climate considerations into forest carbon management.


The Carbon Trends and Management theme incorporates NIACS efforts that design, produce, and disseminate scientific information about land use, management, and the carbon cycle with efforts to provide tools and resources that help forest managers consider climate change impacts and identify adaptation actions that maintain or enhance carbon benefits of forests. The focus for research efforts include quantifying the effects of land use change and forest management on soil carbon, assessing forest biomass  change from disturbance and succession, and investigating interactions between forest carbon and other ecosystem processes. Forest carbon management outreach efforts use the best available science to advance the integration of climate adaptation and mitigation through education, training, and collaboration on research and program development efforts with a diversity of partner organizations. 

"I am very closely tracking Luke’s papers. I’ve read all of them. He does a lot of very good work."

- Werner Kurz, Senior Research Scientist, Canadian Forest Service 

"It has been so much fun to carry out this workshop with you over the’s been one of the highlights of our program and a great collaboration with SilvaCarbon."

- Alexandra Zamecnik, USDA Forest Service, International Programs 



Global soil carbon management book chapterhandful of soil with organic matter

NIACS scientists authored a chapter on soil carbon management in the book Global Change and Forest Soils: Cultivating Stewardship of a Finite Natural Resource, published by Elsevier. The chapter places an up-to-date literature review in the context of international soil and eco-climatic classification frameworks, offering spatially explicit management options for maintaining or increasing soil carbon stocks based upon soil and ecosystem properties.

Adaptive Aspen Management Experiment enters monitoring phase

Our operational-scale forestry experiment at the University of Michigan Biological Station comparing reference, resistance, resilience, and transition options for aspen-dominated forests has entered the post-treatment monitoring phase. With harvesting completed, the experiment is now building upon 5 years of baseline research on the Honeysuckle Creek Watershed. Timber sale revenue is funding a sensor network and sample analyses aimed at measuring the carbon cycling, biogeochemistry, hydrology, and microclimate in reference and manipulated management units.

Adaptation strategies and approaches for forest carbon

NIACS and American Forests co-led the “Practitioner’s Menu of Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for Forest Carbon Management”, published in the Journal of Forestry. This paper included two case studies that demonstrate alignment in adaptation and carbon mitigation practices. State efforts as part of the U.S. Climate Alliance to establish mitigation goals on natural and working lands continue to use this menu to identify management practices that integrate climate adaptation with carbon sequestration and storage in forest ecosystems. 



NIACS will accelerate our work with partners to provide information on forest carbon management. The Forest Soil Carbon Partnership will complete regional assessments in the Lake States and Pacific Northwest. A new research-outreach partnership between NIACS, AF, Michigan State University’s Forest Climate and Carbon Program (FCCP) and the Canadian Forest Service will develop innovative approaches to understanding carbon impacts from forest management scenarios in six states (MD, MI, MN, OR, PA, and WI). NIACS and the FCCP will continue creating online educational materials, developing additional content to provide region-specific information on carbon management in the Midwest and Northeast and piloting multiple 2-day field-based courses for land managers.


2020 Fast Facts

2074 soil samples from NEON sites archived for outreach and sharing with the research community

124 papers reviewed for the Forest Soil Carbon Partnership meta-analysis

3 workshops to develop regionally specific climate-informed forest carbon management practices

5 peer-reviewed articles, 2 book chapters, 2 outreach and education pubs