ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge Forest Inventory and Carbon Stock Analysis

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The ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is 11,815 acres of critical wildlife habitat in South Carolina’s Lowcountry region. The Refuge contains a mosaic of forest types, including upland pine and hardwood, bottomland hardwood, and cypress-tupelo swamps. Periodic forest inventories serve to update Refuge managers on current forest conditions and identify areas outside of desired forest conditions. Desired Forest Conditions (DFC) are defined forest composition and structure metrics representing critical wildlife habitat. Active forest management, including thinning and prescribed fire, is often used on NWRs to meet DFC metrics, and thereby promote and enhance wildlife habitat. This project consisted of a 10-week forest inventory field assessment of ACE Basin NWR to evaluate current forest conditions in relation to DFC metrics. A subsequent analysis quantified how potential forest management activities to achieve DFC metrics would affect carbon stocks. Project findings suggest that most Refuge forests are outside of desired conditions and require a suite of management activities to achieve optimal wildlife habitat. These activities, however, will reduce forest carbon stocks and this project suggests forest management practices that may address these tradeoffs.





Murphy, Mary Carlton (2021). ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge Forest Inventory and Carbon Stock Analysis. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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