Carbon Sequestration from 40 Years of Planting Genetically Improved Loblolly Pine across the Southeast United States

M. J. Aspinwall, S. E. McKeand, and J. S. King, “Carbon Sequestration from 40 Years of Planting Genetically Improved Loblolly Pine across the Southeast United States,” Forest Science, vol. 58, pp. 446–456, Oct. 2012.

Type Journal Article
Author Michael J. Aspinwall
Author Steven E. McKeand
Author John S. King
Volume 58
Pages 446-456
Publication Forest Science
ISSN 0015749X
Date October 2, 2012
DOI 10.5849/forsci.11-058
Library Catalog eih
Abstract Highly productive, widely deployed genetically improved loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) may play an important role in mitigating rising atmospheric CO2 via carbon (C) sequestration. To understand the role of loblolly pine genetic improvement in future C sequestration strategies, we examined the historical (1968-2007) impact of operationally deploying improved families of loblolly pine on productivity and C sequestration across the southeast United States. Since 1977, nearly 100% of loblolly pine plantations in the southeast United States have been established with genetically improved loblolly pine. In recent years, more than 400,000 ha of genetically improved loblolly pine are planted annually. Between 1968 and 2007, we estimate that genetically improved loblolly pine plantations have produced a total of 25.6 billion m³ of stemwood volume and have sequestered 9,865 Tg C in live and dead biomass. Our estimates also indicate that genetic improvement has resulted in an additional 3.7 billion m³ (17% increase) and 1,100 Tg C (13%) of volume production and C sequestration, respectively, relative to volume production and C sequestration with no genetic improvement. We expect that loblolly pine plantation C sequestration will increase as more productive families and clones are deployed and as currently deployed genetic material continues to mature. Together, genetic improvement, intensive silvicultural, and longer rotations aimed at producing long-lived wood products will be important tools for maximizing C sequestration in loblolly pine plantations.


  • Biomass
  • Breeding methods
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Climate change
  • Forest genetics
  • Genetic gain
  • Germplasm
  • Loblolly pine
  • Transgenic plants
  • Wood products

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