Productivity and carbon sequestration of forests in the southern United StatesThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Sixty percent of the Southern United States landscape is forested (Wear 2002). Forest types vary greatly among the five subregions of the South, which include the Coastal Plain, Piedmont, Appalachian-Cumberland, Mid-South, and the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Current inventory data show upland hardwood forests being the predominant forest type in the South (>30 million ha) followed by planted pine (>15 million ha), natural pine and bottomland hardwoods (~13 million ha), and oak-pine (>3 million ha) forest types (Huggett et al. in press). These forest ecosystems provide a multitude of ecosystem goods and services including clean water and air, wildlife habitat, recreation and aesthetics, timber and fiber production, and CO2 sequestration. Southern forests play an important role in meeting the current and future timber and fiber needs across the United States, as harvesting has substantially decreased, in other regions of the country. As a whole, the South’s forest sector produces approximately 60% of the total U.S. wood production, more wood than any other single nation (Prestemon and Abt 2002).