American Forests, the Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS) and the University of Michigan have established the Forest Soil Carbon Initiative to address this need to better understand these dynamics. Our goal for the Initiative is to convert forest soil science into guidance for tangible action by government agencies and private landowners seeking to protect or enhance soil carbon sequestration and storage.
We are working to accomplish this goal using a phased research approach: first, we identify broad trends in soil carbon sequestration (especially in response to forest management and disturbance), and then downscale these trends to understand them at a more local level.
The results of the downscaling process will allow us to identify beneficial soil carbon management practices that landowners and land management agencies can apply in their forests. We can also use this information to create a decision support tool designed to map areas where forest soil carbon can be best protected and enhanced, which landowners and managers can use to optimize forest soil carbon across their lands.
American Forests has many opportunities to leverage the tools of the Initiative with our partners, including several state natural resource agencies, the Forest-Climate Working Group, and the US Climate Alliance. By making the lessons learned from our work available to these groups, we can more widely promote the adoption of beneficial soil carbon management practices and accelerate the integration of forest soil carbon into greenhouse gas mitigation policies and programs.