Carbon Trends and Management

Carbon Trends and Management efforts combine creativity, scientific information, and new data to answer questions about the sequestration, variability, vulnerability, and management of forest carbon.


The Carbon Trends and Management theme incorporates NIACS efforts that design, produce, and disseminate scientific information about land use, management, and the carbon cycle. General focus areas include quantifying the effects of land use change and forest management on soil carbon sequestration, assessing how forest biomass production changes with disturbance or succession, and investigating interactions between forest carbon and other ecosystem components, such as hydrology or nutrient cycling. Education and training efforts are an important part of this theme. 

"I really enjoy taking a concept and being able to run with it, and having the right people with capacity and skills has made a big difference. Thank you for sharing your team with us."

- Lauren Cooper, Michigan State University, Department of Forestry, Forest Carbon and Climate Program



Forest Soil Carbon Partnershiphandful of soil with organic matter

American Forests (AF) and NIACS initiated the Forest Soil Carbon Partnership. A pilot project quantified the impacts of land use and management on soil carbon stocks in Maryland and the surrounding region. The is the latest evolution of data synthesis and meta-analysis techniques developed by NIACS staff. Findings were published in Forest Ecology and Management and additional products are in development.

Soil Carbon Workshop

The 6th annual workshop on estimation of carbon in soils was hosted at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) as a partnership between NIACS, USFS-International Programs, SilvaCarbon, and USAID. The 9-day event trained 11 participants from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala and is now the longest-running of any offered by USFS-IP.

Adaptive Aspen Management Experiment

A new 77-acre experiment at UMBS compares resistance, resilience, and transition options for aspen-dominated forests. The experiment builds upon 5 years of baseline research on the hydrology, carbon cycling, and biogeochemistry of the Honeysuckle Creek Watershed. Timber sale revenue is funding research regarding management and climate change impacts on forest growth, carbon sequestration, hydrology, and soil organic matter dynamics. 

Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for Forest Carbon Management

The Practitioner’s Menu of Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for Forest Carbon Management integrates climate adaptation and mitigation in land management. NIACS used this new menu with diverse partners to demonstration alignment in adaptation and carbon mitigation practices. The menu has also been used by U.S. Climate Alliance states in collaboration with American Forests through the Natural and Working Lands Initiative Learning Labs.




New funding from the Payne Foundation will expand NIACS-AF work on the Forest Carbon Partnership into 3-4 more regions to better understand how management can be used to reduce soil carbon losses or even achieve soil carbon gains. Organizers of the soil carbon training event are already planning the 7th annual workshop for June 2020.  Intensive sampling on the Adaptive Aspen Management Experiment will build an unparalleled dataset on real-time changes in soil organic matter dynamics and hydrologic carbon transport during the immediate post-harvest period. NIACS will continue to work with partners using the forest carbon management menu with managers.


2019 Fast Facts

$400,000 grant from the Payne Foundation for the expansion of the Forest Soil Carbon Partnership

8 peer-reviewed journal articles published or accepted in FY19

6th Annual Soil Carbon Training Workshop, 82 scientists from 13 countries have been trained

>400 soil samples from NEON sites analyzed for radiocarbon