Productivity and carbon sequestration of forests in the southern United States

This 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).

  • Citation: Johnsen, Kurt H.; Keyser, Tara L.; Butnor, John R.; Gonzalez-Beenecke, Carlos A.; Kaczmarek, Donald J.; Maier, Chris A.; McCarthy, Heather R.; Sun, Ge. 2014. Productivity and carbon sequestration of forests in the southern United States. In: Climate change adaption and mitigation management optionsA guide for natural resource managers in southern forest ecosystems CRC Press - Taylor and Francis (pp. 193 - 248) 56 p.

Requesting Publications

You can order print copies of our publications through our publication ordering system. Make a note of the publication you wish to request, and visit our Publication Order Site.

Publication Notes

  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unuseable.
  • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.