- Hoover, Coeli M.
US Forest Service
Forest carbon offsets are becoming an increasingly popular climate mitigation option. However, many questions surrounding the role of forests as a carbon sink remain. One of the most critical items to address is the maximum amount of carbon that can be potentially stored in a forest of a given type. How much more carbon can be stored in an old-growth forest compared to an undisturbed second-growth forest, or a sustainably managed working forest? We begin to address that question with a benchmark study that estimates carbon stocks in surface mineral soil (0-20 cm), forest floor, down dead wood, standing dead, and aboveground live biomass pools in hardwood and softwood old-growth forests in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. All hardwood stands were northern hardwoods; softwood stands were either spruce, spruce-hemlock, or hemlock. Twenty-four temporary plots were established (four hardwood and four softwood sites per state) and inventories using standard methods.