This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

July 23, 2014

DOI Releases Ecosystems Carbon Report for Eastern United States

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) on June 25 released a new report showing that forests, wetlands, and farms in the eastern United States naturally store 300 million tons of carbon per year (or 1,100 million tons of carbon dioxide), which is nearly 15% of the greenhouse gas emissions the country emits each year—an amount that exceeds and offsets yearly U.S. car emissions. The assessment shows that the East stores more carbon than all of the rest of the lower 48 states combined, even though it has less than 40% of the land base. The study area extends eastward from the western edge of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi floodplains, across the Appalachian Mountains, to the coastal plains of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

In conjunction with the national assessment, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) also released a new web tool that allows users to simulate the predicted land and water carbon storage provided by the ecosystems and the potential changes predicted to occur in them between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states. With the report on the eastern United States, the USGS has completed the national biological carbon assessment for ecosystems in the lower 48 states—a national inventory of the capacity of land-based and aquatic ecosystems to naturally store, or sequester, carbon. See the Energy Department news release and the USGS web tool.