Accounting for aboveground carbon storage in shrubland and woodland ecosystems in the Great Basin

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This study used a combination of field estimates, remotely sensed data, and existing land cover maps to create a spatially explicit estimate of aboveground carbon storage within the Great Basin, a semi‐arid region of the western United States encompassing 643,500 km2 of shrubland and woodland vegetation. The Great Basin ecosystems contain an estimated 295.4 Tg in aboveground carbon, which is almost double the previous estimates that only accounted for forested ecosystems in the same area. Aboveground carbon was disproportionately stored in pinyon‐juniper woodland (43.7% carbon, 16.9% land area), while the shrubland systems accounted for roughly half of the total land area (49.1%) and one‐third of the total carbon. Our results emphasize the importance of distinguishing and accounting for the distinctive contributions of shrubland and woodland ecosystems when creating carbon storage estimates for dryland regions.

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