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Code associated with: Forest carbon storage in the Western United States: distribution, drivers, and trends

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posted on 2024-05-15, 15:55 authored by Jazlynn Hall, Manette E Sandor, Brian J Harvey, Sean A Parks, Anna T. Trugman, A. Park Williams, Winslow Hansen

Forests are a large carbon sink and could serve as natural climate solutions that help moderate future warming. Thus, establishing forest carbon baselines is essential for tracking climate-mitigation targets. Western US forests are natural climate solution hotspots but are profoundly threatened by drought and altered disturbance regimes. How these factors shape spatial patterns of carbon storage and carbon change over time is poorly resolved. Here, we estimate live and dead forest carbon density in 19 forested western US ecoregions with national inventory data (2005-2019) to determine: 1) current carbon distributions, 2) underpinning drivers, and 3) recent trends. Potential drivers of current carbon included harvest, wildfire, insect and disease, topography, and climate. Using random forests, we evaluated driver importance and relationships with current live and dead carbon within ecoregions. We assessed trends using linear models. Pacific Northwest (PNW) and Southwest (SW) ecoregions were most and least carbon dense, respectively. Climate was an important carbon driver in the SW and Lower Rockies. Fire reduced live and increased dead carbon, and was most important in the Upper Rockies and California. No ecoregion was unaffected by fire. Harvest and private ownership reduced carbon, particularly in the PNW. Since 2005, live carbon declined across much of the western US, likely from drought and fire. Carbon has increased in PNW ecoregions, likely recovering from past harvest, but recent record fire years may alter trajectories. Our results provide insight into western US forest carbon function and future vulnerabilities, which is vital for effective climate change mitigation strategies.

File and folder list:

README_Hall_forest_carbon.docx - contains list and descriptions for all code files.

MainScript_240227_clean.Rmd

ChecksBalances- contains Map_FIALocation_year.R (1 file)

reviewercomments- contains disturbancecomparison_fia_externaldatasets.R (1 file)

Section1_SourceData- contains identify_studyarea.R, shapefil_readin.R (2 file)

Section2_ProcessData- contains CTrends._ShapeSelection_lm_livedead.R, ReadFIA_CalculateCarbon_LiveDead.R (2 files)

Section3_Drivers- contains BeetleDisease_Processing.R, CBI_prepare_fires.R, drivermaps.R, Drivers_NAFD_ForestDisturbance.R, Drivers_RS_CBI_fireseverity_240214.R, Drivers_WUMI_wildfire_updated_230307.R, Harvest_FIA.R, ProcessAllDrivers_230202.R, ProcessDrivers.R, select_variables_240227.R (10 files)

Section4_ - contains CMYK_legend.R, PD_CalcFunctions_240227.R, PD_CalcFunctions_240227_dead.R, PD_Plots_240227.R, PD_Plots_240227_dead.R, RandomForest_function_240227.R, RandomForest_function_240227_dead.R (7 files)

Funding

Western US Fire Ecology and Forest Resilience Science Collaborative | Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF11974)

Wildfire Risk and Forest-ecosystem Change in the Western US | Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF10763)

Quantifying realistic current and future carbon storage in forests of the northeastern United States and western North America | Environmental Defense Fund

Quantifying realistic current and future carbon storage in forests of the northeastern United States and western North America | Three Cairns Group

Collaborative Research: Predicting ecosystem resilience to climate and disturbance events with a multi-scale hydraulic trait framework

Directorate for Biological Sciences

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RAPID: Mapping drought stress and hydraulic refugia with repeat hyperspectral data

Directorate for Biological Sciences

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The Role of Vegetation in Past and Future Global Hydroclimatic Change

Office of Biological and Environmental Research

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Jack Corkery and George Corkery Jr. Endowed Professorship in Forest Sciences

USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Aldo Leopold Wilderness Research Institute

History

Geographic coordinates

In EPSG:4326 WGS 1984 projection xmin: -124.849 ymin: 31.33218 xmax: -102.0415 ymax: 49.00249

Time period

Begin date - June, 2022 End date – May 2024

Methodology

We aggregated forest inventory and analysis (FIA) data (2005-2019) to estimate live and dead forest carbon density in 19 forested western US ecoregions to determine current carbon distributions and recent trends. We assessed trends using linear models. We also assembled a suite of potential drivers underpinning current carbon distributions from existing publicly available datasets. Potential drivers of current carbon included harvest, wildfire, insect and disease, topography, and climate. Using random forests, we evaluated driver importance and relationships with current live and dead forest carbon within ecoregions.

Data provenance

See data citations under Related Materials.

Secondary Data Contact

datamanagement@caryinstitute.org

Data Sharing Statement

The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies furnishes code and data under the following conditions: The code or data have received quality assurance scrutiny, and, although we are confident of their accuracy, Cary Institute will not be held liable for errors in the code or data. Code and data are subject to change resulting from updates in data screening or models used. To cite code or data, click on the Cite button on this page.

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