Integrating Products, Emission Offsets, and Wildfire into Carbon Assessments of Inland Northwest Forests

Elaine E. Oneil, Bruce R. Lippke


Forest inventory and harvest data from life-cycle inventory and life-cycle assessment for the forest resources of the Inland Northwest region covering Idaho, Montana, and eastern Washington were used to estimate the impacts of management action on the full suite of carbon accounts that can accrue from forest management. The carbon accounts include the forest, wood products, the benefit gained from using wood products as substitutes for alternative products that are fossil fuel-intensive to produce, and the displacement value of using woody biomass to replace fossil fuel. A landscape-level assessment of projected carbon storage by owner group shows that in 100 yr, management on State and Private Forests can sequester or avoid emissions equal to 294 t/ha of carbon, which equals over 1.9 Gt of carbon across 6.5 Mha. Seventy-nine percent of the carbon accumulates beyond current forest carbon inventories. On National Forests, carbon sequestration and avoided emissions are 152 t/ha over 11 Mha of unreserved forests equaling 1.4 Gt of carbon under predictions for a doubling of the 20th century fire rate. The carbon storage in buildings and the substitution benefits override the potential gains of attempting to leave high carbon stocks stored in the forest in this region where disturbance from fire and insect outbreaks dominates the forest ability to sequester carbon.


Inland Northwest;LCI;LCA;wildfire risk reduction;forest;wood product substitution;fossil fuel displacement

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