CARBON BENEFITS FROM SFI-CERTIFIED LANDS IN THE UNITED STATES

The Tableau tool embedded below helps quantify the carbon value of SFI-certified forests and can help diverse partners and organizations understand the value of sustainably managed forests.
These data will be useful for SFI-certified organizations to quantify carbon sequestration and storage in SFI-certified forests, to help forest managers make management decisions, and for users of the SFI label to understand how certified fiber can help advance their climate-related sustainability goals.
  • The tool calculates forest carbon stocks, rates of sequestration, and long-term carbon storage in forest products.
  • The tool demonstrates that each year, trees in SFI-certified forests in the U.S. remove 235.3 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, the equivalent of the emissions from over 170 million cars for a year in the U.S.
  • Forests in the 68.1 million acres of SFI-certified land in the U.S. store 20 billion tons of CO2 equivalent (CO2e), equal to the annual emissions from almost 4 billion passenger cars for a year. Of this, 10.2 billion tons are in the soil and 5.7 billion are in the aboveground portion of trees. The remainder are in roots, dead trees, small plants in the understory, and in the forest floor.
  • When trees are harvested for wood products, much of the carbon remains stored in those wood products or in landfills after the end of the product’s life. Of the 126 million tons of CO2e harvested each year from SFI-certified lands, 60 million tons is initially stored in wood products, and an average of 35.6 million tons remains stored for 100 years.
SFI and the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, Inc. (NCASI) believe that this tool will be most valuable for those interested in evaluating the carbon contributions of SFI-certified forests, including brand owners that use SFI‑labeled products, and academic and non-profit organizations seeking to better understand contributions of SFI-certified forestlands for climate change mitigation.

WHY IT MATTERS

Climate change is one of our most pressing global challenges, and sustainably managed forests are among our most impactful tools for addressing it. Over 370 million acres/150 million hectares of forestland are certified to the SFI Forest Management Standard in North America, absorbing, and storing carbon from the atmosphere at an enormous scale. Carbon dynamics in these forests make it clear that they are essential to reducing negative effects of climate change.
Vigorous and healthy forests that are sustainably managed are more resilient to climate change, which is now highlighted by the new SFI standards in the SFI Climate Smart Forestry Objective. The new Objective now requires SFI‑certified organizations to ensure forest management activities address climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
Sustainably managed forests also produce wood products that sequester carbon for extended periods, and certification to the SFI Forest Management Standard requires prompt reforestation of harvested areas, assuring that these forests continue to sequester and store carbon as part of climate change mitigation.
Within the tabs containing state mapping information, higher concentrations of a green color indicate greater quantities of the variable being displayed (e.g., if the map is displaying total forest carbon, then darker green means more carbon). Toggle between different options to observe data by private vs. public forest landowner, by state, acres vs. hectares, and other variables, including: SFI-certified area, gross tree growth and mortality, and much more.
Forest carbon estimates were derived from data collected by the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program. Estimates of carbon-per-acre across all private, state, and local public ownerships are applied to acres of SFI Forest Management certified lands. FIA data are collected from field plots across all ownerships. A portion of plots are measured in each state every year. In general, states in the eastern U.S. take 5-to-8 years for a complete cycle of measurement, and states in the western U.S. take 10 years.
Please note: The SFI-NCASI Carbon and Water Benefit Tools are very data heavy and are best experienced by desktop computer. While much of these data display via mobile view, the desktop view provides the best opportunity for selecting different variables and engaging with the data. Users with slow internet connections or slower computers may also have difficulty exploring the full interactive experience of the tools.