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Carbon Reporting Using the Forest Vegetation Simulator. USDA Forest Service Forest Management Service Center Forest Vegetation Simulator staff. Carbon Reporting Using the Forest Vegetation Simulator. Collaborators Stephanie Rebain – USDA FS, FVS Group, WO-D

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Carbon Reporting

Using the Forest Vegetation Simulator

USDA Forest Service

Forest Management Service Center

Forest Vegetation Simulator staff

Carbon Reporting Using the Forest Vegetation Simulator


Stephanie Rebain – USDA FS, FVS Group, WO-D

Don Robinson – ESSA Technologies Ltd., Vancouver B.C.

Nick Crookston - USDA FS, Rocky Mountain Research Station

Coeli Hoover - USDA FS, Northern Research Station

Linda Heath - USDA FS Northern Research Station

Jim Smith - USDA FS, Northern Research Station

Richard Birdsey - USDA FS, Northern Research Station

Fire and Fuels Extension

  • Tracks variables such as fire hazard, fuel loading, and snag levels over time

  • In addition to thinning and harvesting, users can simulate wildfires, prescribed burns, and other types of fuel treatments such as chipping and pileburns.

  • Calibrated for most FVS variants (not AK and CS)

  • Southern variant specifically calibrated for the Ozark-Ouachita Mountains, but is being expanded.

FFE Applications

  • Assess fuel levels and fire hazard

  • To compare fuel management prescriptions

  • Create visual images of stand conditions and fire hazard for communication with the public

  • Examine tradeoffs between fire hazard reduction and other objectives, such as wildlife habitat

FFE Model Components

  • FFE combines the vegetation predictions of FVS with:

  • Existing fire behavior and effects models (Behave, FOFEM, Consume, Nexus)

  • Estimates of fuel accumulation and decay

  • Estimates of snag fall down and decay

FFE Model Output

  • Potential Fire report

  • Fuels report (biomass values)

  • Burn Conditions report (for simulated fires)

  • Fuel Consumption report (for simulated fires)

  • Mortality report (for simulated fires)

  • Snag reports

  • Carbon reports

FFE Fuels Report

  • Every stand component has a biomass

  • Estimates biomass (tons/acre) in:

    • Surface fuel (by category)

    • Dead standing trees

    • Live standing trees

  • Estimates biomass removed and biomass consumed

Biomass Calculations

  • Biomass estimates are DRY tons/acre

  • Live and dead tree biomass is composed of 2 pieces:

    • Crown biomass

      • Based on tree specs (species, dbh, etc.)

      • From published literature (papers by Brown and others)

    • Biomass of main stem

Biomass Calculations

  • Biomass of main stem:

    • Based on volume estimate (cuft)

    • Then a lbs/cuft conversion factor is assumed

    • lbs/cuft factors are derived from the species- based specific gravity values in the Wood Handbook

    • Example: specific gravity of Ponderosa pine is 0.38.

    • 0.38 * 62.372 = 23.7 lbs/cuft

    • Biomass is not reduced for defect

Carbon Report

  • Every stand component has carbon

  • Estimates carbon (tons/acre or metric tons/ha) in:

    • Live trees and dead trees (above and below ground)

    • Surface fuel (down dead wood, forest floor (litter & duff), and herbs/shrubs)

  • Estimates carbon removed from the stand

  • CarbRept keyword produces report

FFE Stand Carbon Report

  • Tons/acre of carbon = 0.5*tons/acre of biomass (except forest floor is 0.37*biomass)

  • Reported in tons/acre or metric tons/ha

  • Values based on FFE fuels report biomass estimates or uses biomass estimates in Jenkins et. al. (Forest Science 2003)

  • Jenkins equations are based on national meta-analysis (simplified equations based on dbh and 10 species groups)

FFE Harvested Carbon Report

  • Follows merch harvested carbon through time

  • Estimates harvested carbon in four categories:

    • Forest Products

    • Landfill

    • Energy – emitted with energy capture

    • Emissions – emitted without energy capture

  • Based on Smith, Heath, Skog and Birdsey 2006 (GTR-NE-343)


  • Oak-hickory stand in the Ozarks

  • Inventoried in 1996 - 130 ft2/acre

  • Compare a no management simulation with a shelterwood simulation

    • 2006 – prep cut - 120 ft2/acre (min. dbh = 4”)

    • 2011 – sheltewood cut - 70 ft2/acre

    • 2016 – removal cut

  • Regeneration included in simulations


  • No Action simulation


  • Shelterwood simulation


  • Shelterwood simulation (CarbCut keyword)


  • Shelterwood simulation (CarbRept keyword)


  • No statistics output (CIs, sampling error) and currently can only estimate biomass and carbon at the stand level (not for individual plots)

  • Stem biomass / carbon calculated from volume does not include bark

  • How good are these estimates anyway? Validation is necessary!

FVS Support Staff

Forest Management Service Center

2150 Centre Ave, Bldg. A, Suite 341a

Fort Collins, CO 80526

FVS Hotline 970-295-5770

Erin Smith-Mateja 541-471-6706

Gary Dixon Bob Havis

Chad Keyser Stephanie Rebain

Erin Smith-Mateja Don Vandendriesche