Lippke, Bruce (Univ. of Washington, 2600 Fairview Ave.E. #7, Seattle, WA, 98102; Phone: 206-543-8684; Fax: 206-685-0790; Email:


Forest Management Impacts on Carbon - Some Counter Intuitive Findings


B.R. Lippke *, J. Comnick


The Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) released a Life Cycle Inventory and Assessment study on wood demonstrating that for the Pacific Northwest, while longer forest management rotations increase the carbon stored in the forest, the corresponding reduction in  carbon stored in long-lived products and the displacement of wood by fossil intensive products like steel or concrete, results in an overall reduction in carbon as rotation ages are increased.  As a consequence, policies that give credit only to carbon stored in the forest may be counterproductive to their intent.  It also raises interesting questions for the overly dense stands in the Inland-west that are threatened by fire but for which the product uses may be short lived.  Management treatments are shown to reduce the fire risk and store more carbon when compared to a fire but uncertainty on the timing of fire must be considered in estimating total carbon storage.   Methods are developed to demonstrate a likely path for carbon stored by incorporating both the probability of fire and the useful life of the products produced.  The probability of fire on high risk stands would appear to be sufficient to justify thinning treatments while also contributing to carbon storage so long as a substantial portion of the product is allocated to long lived uses like housing construction