Skip to main content
Contact Us
Tools and Resources

Forest carbon stock

Forest carbon stock is the amount of carbon that has been sequestered from the atmosphere and is now stored within the forest ecosystem, mainly within living biomass and soil, and to a lesser extent also in dead wood and litter. 

Table 4.1 presents estimates of UK forest carbon stock that were compiled in 2018 for submission to international organisations.  The total carbon stock stored within UK forests is estimated to have increased between 1990 and 2015, and to continue increasing to 2020 (Table 4.1).  The carbon stored in forest soils accounts for around 70% of total forest carbon stock.

Table 4.1 Forest carbon stock

  1990 2000 2010 2015 2020
million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent
Carbon in above-ground biomass 376 482 586 630 674
Carbon in below-ground biomass 135 174 211 227 242
Carbon in dead wood 130 138 143 147 149
Carbon in litter  165 175 182 188 190
Soil carbon1 2366 2533 2629 2726 2761
Total forest carbon  3172 3502 3750 3918 4016

Source: Forest Research

Notes

1.  Carbon in soil depth 0 to 100 cm.

2.  To convert tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) to tonnes carbon (C), multiply by 12/44.

3.  Changes in soil carbon stocks over the period can be attributed to changes in UK forest area.

These figures are outside the scope of National Statistics.  For further information see the Sources chapter.

Additional resources

Sources chapter: Carbon

Tools & Resources
In this section
Tools & Resources