Birdsey, Richard (USDA-Forest Service, 11 Campus Blvd, Suite 200, Newtown Square, PA, 19073; Phone: 610-557-4091; Email:


Carbon Accounting Rules and Guidelines for the United States Forest Sector


R. Birdsey*


The President’s Climate Change Initiative includes improvements to the Department of Energy’s Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.  As part of the initiative, the USDA Forest Service is developing accounting rules and guidelines for reporting and registering forestry activities that reduce atmospheric CO2 by increasing carbon sequestration or reducing emissions.  To be eligible for registration, the reported reductions must use methods and meet standards contained in the guidelines.  Forestry presents some unique challenges and opportunities because of the diversity of operations (e.g. size and location of operations), the variety of practices that affect greenhouse gases, the year-to-year variability in emissions and sequestration associated with forest activities, and some special considerations such as accounting for the effects of natural disturbance.  Forestry activities with potential for achieving substantial reductions include, but are not limited to: afforestation, mine land reclamation, and forest restoration; agroforestry; forest management; short-rotation biomass energy plantations; forest preservation; wood products; and urban forestry.