Welcome to the Forest Carbon Website Toolbox!

This page provides auxiliary information for a publication entitled “How to Estimate Forest Carbon from Inventory Data”, which is submitted to Journal of Forestry. The goal of this publication is to provide methods for calculating carbon stocks in forests based on forest inventory data, with an emphasis on carbon pool estimates from FORCARB2 and inventory data collected by the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program.

How to estimate forest carbon from inventory data, by James E. Smith, Linda S. Heath, and Peter B. Woodbury.


Large amounts of carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere by forests. Carbon sequestration through forest growth provides a low-cost approach for meeting state and national goals to address potential climate change by reducing net accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Determining the level of carbon stocks in forest ecosystems has become a concern of governments, businesses, and many organizations. This article provides examples of inventory-based calculations and identifies the information resources that are available for analysts and planners to develop large-scale carbon estimates consistent with totals for U.S. forests.

Supplemental material for Tables 1 through 6

Literature Cited:

1. Smith, J. E., and L. S. Heath. 2002. A model of forest floor carbon mass for United States forest types. Research Paper NE-722. Newtown Square, PA: USDA Forest Service.

2. Smith, James E.; Heath, Linda S.; Jenkins, Jennifer C. 2003. Forest volume-to-biomass models and estimates of mass for live and standing dead trees of U.S. forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-298. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 57 p.

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 Page last modified, September 14, 2009