Background and Context
There have been multiple conversations over the past two Legislative Sessions regarding the development of climate policy and carbon pricing. In those discussions, legislators and stakeholders have frequently referred to the role that Oregon’s forests play in sequestering carbon.
Under ORS 468A.259(i), an accurate forest carbon accounting is required to meet the directive to the Oregon Global Warming Commission (OGWC) to "track and evaluate the carbon sequestration potential of Oregon's forests, alternative methods of forest management that can increase carbon sequestration and reduce the loss of carbon sequestration to wildfire, changes in the mortality and distribution of tree and other plant species and the extent to which carbon is stored in tree-based building materials". To meet this obligation, OGWC has been pursuing a reliable source of forest inventory and carbon accounting data since 2010. In 2017 the OGWC's Forest Carbon Task Force recognized the value of preliminary data and analysis provided by the USFS Forest Inventory Analysis Program for forest carbon accounting in Oregon.
In the 2018 Session, the Legislature established the Office of Carbon Policy and included funding to further develop an assessment of the amount of carbon in Oregon’s forests. The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is contracting work on a robust assessment that includes three phases:
|In cooperation with the Governor's Carbon Policy Office, ODF has entered into an agreement with the The Forest Inventory Analysis Program (FIA) to produce an Oregon Forest Ecosystems Carbon Report within the same forest carbon accounting framework used for the CA Forest Ecosystems Carbon Report. FIA will also produce a forest ecosystem carbon report for Washington, resulting in a consistent methodology for all three Pacific Coast states to report the storage and flux of carbon in forest ecosystems. A draft version of the Oregon Forest Ecosystems Carbon Report is expected to be available February 2019, and the final report is expected to be available by January 2019.
The FIA Program, within the USDA Resource Monitoring and Assessment Division of the Forest Service, conducts an annual inventory of the nation’s forests with a 10-year remeasurement cycle for Oregon. FIA has developed a forest sector carbon accounting methodology that complies with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) guidelines for forest carbon accounting.
ODF has independently entered into a second agreement with the FIA Program, in partnership with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER), to conduct a study on the dynamics of carbon in harvested wood products (Phase I) and the consumption and production of energy at Oregon sawmills (Phase II). Phase I will focus on the history of the storage and flux of carbon through wood products from Oregon’s forests. The methods for the analysis in this report will be based on the IPCC production accounting approach, adopted by the US Environmental Protection Agency, to estimate the annual changes in harvested wood product pools in all ownerships in Oregon over about the last 100 years. A schematic of the model that will be used in this analysis can be accessed in the article "Estimates of carbon stored in harvested wood products in the United States forest service northern region, 1906 - 2010". The Oregon harvested wood products report is expected to be available by June 2019. Phase II of this study will involve developing a profile of all on-site energy consumed and produced at sawmills in Oregon. The study will also be completed by BBER and a description of the methods that will be used can found at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/52228.
The first two pieces of this full report assess carbon stocks under current management and utilization strategies. This third component will be a forward-looking assessment of carbon stocks and may include a range of potential management and utilization scenarios. Currently ODF is in the very early stages of design on this work. More details to follow.
Stakeholder Advisory Committee
In conjunction with the Office of Carbon Policy, ODF initiated a Stakeholder Advisory Committee to inform the development and deliverables for each of the three phases of this work. The Stakeholder Advisory Committee includes representatives from conservation organizations, forestry industry, and tribal government. Stakeholders have been asked to provide feedback and recommendations for these reports. For more specific details on the Committee's role, please see the Committee Charter and Operating Procedures.
Stakeholder Committee Members