Latest Score:


in 2019

score trend is up over time
Weight: 15%

Through photosynthesis, trees convert atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugars and wood. Trees are unique in their ability to sequester large amounts of carbon in long-living, perennial structures -- the roots, trunks, and branches. Storage of carbon is an ecological service that trees provide us by taking in and storing a potent greenhouse gas. While trees do release some CO2 through the natural processes of respiration and decay, mosts forests store much more carbon than is released. In fact, carbon is stored not only in live trees, but in soils, downed logs, and standing dead trees. Here we use Forest Inventory and Analysis Phase 2 plot data to assess the total, annual forest carbon storage, expressed in metric tonnes (equivalent to 1,000 Kg). The current year is scored as the distance between the minimum value and the target.

-- Expert interpretation for Carbon Storage is not available--

The score is calculated using a target value and the historical range of the the entire long-term dataset. The higher the score, the closer this year's value is to the target.

Once the score is computed for each year, the trend in scores over time is calculated. If the trend is significantly positive or negative, the long-term trend is marked as increasing or decreasing respectively.

Component Description
Scored as

Distance between minimum and maximum (scaled 1-5)

Target value

Data maximum + 10% of range

Directionality of scores

Higher values in the data are better.

Minimum value used in scoring

Data minimum - 10% of range

Maximum value used in scoring

Data maximum + 10% of range

This metric was calculated using a query set by the Forest Inventory and Analysis program (‘IPCC carbon total: all 5 pools on forestland’) accessed via the FIA EVALIDator1. This query computed the total carbon storage (in MgT) on FIA plots across all carbon pools. The first available year of data was 1997. The data target was set at the maximum value in the dataset plus 10% of the range. The annual score was computed as the difference between the lower scoring bounds (either the minimum value in the data minus 10% of range or 0, whichever was greater) and the target. This difference was then scaled between 1-5.

1 USDA Forest Service. 2017. FIA EVALIDator. Available at: