Methods to estimate and quantify forest carbon balance


The forest carbon (C) sinks were included in the Kyoto Protocol as a mechanism to mitigate global climate change. According to the Protocol, the net sink of C arising from land use changes and forestry over the period of 2008-2012 can be credited and may substitute the reduction of GHG emissions. Importance of forests to atmospheric carbon have created a timely need for reliable and transparent estimates of carbon budgets of forests. Reliable estimates biomass, litter and soil carbon are needed both to understand the effect of forests on atmospheric carbon dioxide and to fulfill the reporting requirements of international agreements. Forest inventories are among the few sources of information for such estimates. Inventory data must, however, be complemented with other data and modelling to quantify the whole carbon budget of forests.


Figure 1. Illustration of forest inventory based approach to estimate carbon budgets, where estimates of stem volume of growing stock, gross increment and fellings are converted to biomass, which is further converted to litterfall with turnoverrates and the estimated litterfall is fed into dynamic soil carbon model. This approach gives directly estimates of changes in the carbon stock of trees and forest soil.


  • The objectives of this study are to:
  • Develope and improve methods used for assessment of forest carbon budget
  • Identify uncertainties related to assessment of forest carbon budget

Related projects

This study is part of the research projects of Finnish Forest Research Institute: Forest Carbon Sinks and Economic Costs of Kyoto Protocol


Forest carbon balance

which both belong to the research program:

Pools and fluxes of carbon in Finnish forests and their socio-economic implications

This study is also related to the research consortium:

Integrated Method to Estimate the Carbon Budget of Forests

which is the oint research project of scientists at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and the Finnish Forest Research Institute.


Results of this study can be seen on web-pages of the related projects:


Petteri Muukkonen
PhD student

Finnish Forest Research Institute
P.O. Box 18

Tel. +358 10 211 2678
Fax. +358 102 211 2202