Journal of Forest Economics > Vol 34 > Issue 1-2

From Source to Sink: Past Changes and Model Projections of Carbon Sequestration in the Global Forest Sector

Craig Johnston, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, , Joseph Buongiorno, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, Prakash Nepal, North Carolina State University and USDA Forest Service, USA, Jeff Prestemon, USDA Forest Service, USA
Suggested Citation
Craig Johnston, Joseph Buongiorno, Prakash Nepal and Jeff Prestemon (2019), "From Source to Sink: Past Changes and Model Projections of Carbon Sequestration in the Global Forest Sector", Journal of Forest Economics: Vol. 34: No. 1-2, pp 47-72.

Publication Date: 07 Aug 2019
© 2019 C. Johnston, J. Buongiorno, P. Nepal and J. Prestemon
Climate changeForest sectorInternational tradeCarbon sequestrationLand useGlobal Forest Products Model


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In this article:
1. Introduction 
2. Methods and Data 
3. Results 
4. Conclusion 
A. Appendix 


An economic model of the global forest sector was used to estimate the carbon mitigating potential of the world’s forests to 2065 for 180 countries assuming future socioeconomic trends that do not change markedly from historical patterns, consistent with the IPCC-SSP2. Forest carbon pools were broken down into four categories; (i) above-ground and below-ground biomass, (ii) forest soil, (iii) dead wood and litter, and (iv) harvested wood products. Changes in forest carbon storage were driven by the dynamic relationship between endogenously determined timber harvest, wood product consumption, evolving forest biomass stock, forest area change and exogenous demographic and income changes. The results suggested that the forest sector was a net carbon source of approximately 3.6 GtCO2e yr-1 in 1992, decreasing to 2.4 GtCO2e yr-1 in 2014 (average rate: -0.05 GtCO2e yr-1), in general agreement with previous historical assessments. In the projections, the global forest sector achieved a net zero carbon balance by the year 2025, but with large variations by region and country. By 2030, the world’s forest sector became a net carbon sink of 1.5 GtCO2e yr-1 and eventually of 6.8 GtCO2e yr-1 by 2065. Uncertainties exist in projecting changes in forest area, including the influence of socioeconomic drivers and climate policy targets, as well as the interplay between forests and climate.



Journal of Forest Economics, Volume 34, Issue 1-2 Special issue - State of the art methods to project forest carbon stocks: Articles Overiew
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