Carbon storage and GHG fluxes in ecosystems of the eastern U.S.

June 25, 2014
Washington, D.C.


The third USGS biological carbon assessment report has been released. In response to and since the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act, these Congressional mandated national assessments by USGS  previously produced the first report on the Great Plains, released in 2011 and the second report on the Western United States released in 2012.  Reports on Alaska and Hawaii are expected to be completed in 2015. 

In the recently released third report, '...Forests accounted for more than 80 percent of the estimated carbon sequestered in the East annually, confirming the critical role of forests highlighted in the Administration’s climate action initiative....

...The assessment shows that the Eastern US region stores more carbon than all of the rest of the lower 48 states combined even though it has fewer than 40 percent of the land base....

...Under some scenarios, USGS scientists found that the rate of sequestration for the lower 48 states is projected to decline by more than 25 percent by 2050, due to disturbances such as wildfires, urban development and increased demand for timber products....'

As called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan, USGS also released 'LandCarbon', a new web tool demonstrating land and water carbon storage and change in ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states.  

See for more details.

Find the report here. Find the new web tool here. 

Report Citation: Zhu, Zhiliang, and Reed, Bradley, eds., 2014, Baseline and projected future carbon storage and greenhouse-gas fluxes in ecosystems of the eastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1804, 204 p.,

ISSN 1044–9612 (print)

ISSN 2330–7102 (online)

ISBN 978-1-4113-3794-7

ISBN 978-1-4113-3794-7

Both Drs. Zhiliang Zhu and Brad Reed from USGS are CCIWG members. 

Report Abstract

This assessment was conducted to fulfill the requirements of section 712 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and to conduct a comprehensive national assessment of storage and flux (flow) of carbon and the fluxes of other greenhouse gases in ecosystems of the Eastern United States. These carbon and greenhouse gas variables were examined for major terrestrial ecosystems (forests, grasslands/shrublands, agricultural lands, and wetlands) and aquatic ecosystems (rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters) in the Eastern United States in two time periods: baseline (from 2001 through 2005) and future (projections from the end of the baseline through 2050). The Great Lakes were not included in this assessment due to a lack of input data. The assessment was based on measured and observed data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and many other agencies and organizations and used remote sensing, statistical methods, and simulation models.