Physical Science of Forests, Climate Regulation, and Carbon Storage


Course information

This short course, curated by Michigan State University's Forest Carbon and Climate Program, will develop foundational knowledge in the relationship between climate regulation, forests, and forest carbon. In five modules, the course covers the 1) Carbon Cycle and Storage, 2) Humans, the Global Carbon Cycle, and Terrestrial Sinks, 3) Forest Ecosystems and Carbon Storage, 4) Forest Ecosystem Carbon Pools and Fluxes, and 5) Disturbances and their Carbon Impact. Each module will outline its respective learning objectives. Course content will include recorded presentations, links to online resources, and recommended reading.

Is this course for you?

This course is intended for the novice or aspiring forest carbon and climate novice who is seeking to get a better understanding of climate regulation and forest carbon within the context of forests and forestry. This foundational course covers the fundamentals to help better equip you in the conversation of climate and forest carbon with your colleagues, customers, and other diverse audiences. This course may also serve as a refresher to your understanding. Reinforcing your knowledge can strengthen your understanding, especially as new resources, tools, and policies may emerge as they relate to climate regulation and forest carbon.

Open registration

Registration is open from January 11, 2022 at 8:00 am ET to February 8, 2022 at 11:55 pm ET.


Member: $175

Non-member: $220

Join SAF TODAY to take advantage of the growing member benefits, including course savings.

For group registrations or registering someone other than yourself please contact or 202-938-3910.

Course start date

Course content will be accessible starting February 8, 2022 at 8:30 am ET.

Course access 

Course access will remain open until April 8, 2022 at 11:55 pm ET. The course will close your access at that time so plan accordingly.

Course pace

This course is self-paced with an expected completion time frame of up to 6 weeks. This course must be completed in sequence and each presentation must be viewed in entirety to progress to the next section. Once a section is complete, you can return to the previous section. ForestEd will send you reminders along the way to help you stay on track. 

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this short course, you will:

  1. Be familiar with and able to identify the carbon cycle and its connection to natural and human-caused global warming
  2. Know about trends in atmospheric GHG emissions and their impact on the carbon cycle
  3. Understand sources and sinks, and the role of natural forests and the forestry sector
  4. Understand that forest composition, structure, and function influence carbon storage
  5. Remember the pools of carbon with forested ecosystems
  6. Apply knowledge of forest structure differences to forest carbon pools and fluxes by forest type
  7. Be able to communicate global distribution of carbon storage in forests
  8. Remember that management planning and decision-making can minimize the carbon losses from natural and human-caused disturbances


Successful completion of the course is measured by mastering each module's quiz to assess how well you recall and apply your new knowledge. You have unlimited attempts for each quiz to master the content. Passing score for each quiz is 80%.

Course Evaluation

Participant feedback is appreciated to help the course curators and subject matter experts continually improve the course for future participants.


Upon successful completion of this course, you will earn 3.5 CFEs in Category 1. CFEs will automatically be added to your CFE record located on


Upon successful completion of this course and course evaluation, participants may download and print a certificate verifying completion of the course and earning CFEs. CFEs will be uploaded to participant CFE records by the end of the day of course completion (11:59 pm ET).

Get Started or Return to Place in Course

Once you are registered for the course, access this course within your MY DASHBOARD. You can pause at any point during the course and you can return right where you last left off. Simply select the presentation you were last viewing and you will be prompted to select if you wish to start where you left off. For additional tips for success, watch the Course Tutorial Video preceding the Welcome Presentation. Note: this course uses pop-up windows so be sure to enable pop-up windows on your browser.

Course Resources

Additional course resources are available within the Resources tab and within the Contents tab course sections.

Need Help?

For ForestEd questions, visit FAQs, email, or watch the Course Tutorial within the Contents tab. For questions about this course's content email For technical assistance, go to for self troubleshooting and/or live chat, or you can email


This is a non-refundable item. Please view FAQs for additional information.

This content will not be available until 02/08/2022 at 8:27 AM (EST)