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The Contribution of Managed and Unmanaged Forests to Climate Change Mitigation—A Model Approach at Stand Level for the Main Tree Species in Bavaria
Bavarian State Institute of Forestry, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 1, 85354 Freising, Germany
Technical University of Munich, Institute of Silviculture, Hans-Carl-von-Carlowitz-Platz 2, 85354 Freising, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 November 2012; in revised form: 26 December 2012 / Accepted: 27 December 2012 / Published: 14 January 2013
Abstract: Forestry-based carbon sequestration projects demand a comprehensive quantification of the different climate change mitigation effects. In our study, we modeled a life cycle of managed pure stands consisting of the four main tree species in Bavaria (spruce, pine, beech and oak). For spruce and beech, an unmanaged stand was additionally integrated in order to analyze the differences in climate change mitigation effects compared to the managed stands. We developed a climate change mitigation model, where stand development and silvicultural treatments including harvested timber volumes were conducted using the tree growth model Silva 2.3. The harvested wood products (HWP), including their substitution effects were calculated with a subsequent model. For unmanaged beech forests, we compiled measured data from the literature, and Bavarian strict forest reserves for validating our model results. The results for the managed stands reveal that spruce provides the highest total climate change mitigation effects. After a simulation period of 180 years, one hectare leads to a mean mitigation benefit of 13.5 Mg CO2 ha−1 year−1. In comparison, results for pine, beech and oak reveal lesser benefits with 10.1 Mg CO2 ha−1 year−1, 9.1 Mg CO2 ha−1 year−1 and 7.2 Mg CO2 ha−1 year−1, respectively. However, these results assume current growing conditions. Considering climate change, it is very likely that spruce will not be suitable in several regions of Bavaria in the future. Furthermore, excessive disturbances could affect spruce more drastically than the other tree species. In that case, the order could change and beech could exceed spruce. Thus the results cannot be seen as a general recommendation to establish spruce stands in order to achieve optimal climate change mitigation benefits. Nevertheless, results for spruce illustrate that high increment and especially wood use in long-lived products is crucial for high climate change mitigation effects. Mitigation effects in unmanaged spruce and beech stands do not differ in the first decades from their managed counterparts, but are below them in the long term with a total climate change mitigation benefit of 8.0 Mg CO2 ha−1 year−1 and 7.2 Mg CO2 ha−1 year−1, respectively. These differences are mainly caused by the missing substitution effects in the unmanaged stands. However, the precise dimensions of substitution effects still remain uncertain and the lack of data should be reduced via additional life cycle assessments for more products and product classes. However, neglecting substitution effects in climate change mitigation models leads to severe underestimations of the mitigation effects in managed forests.
Keywords: climate change mitigation; carbon offset in forest projects; harvested wood products; substitution effects; unmanaged forests
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Klein, D.; Höllerl, S.; Blaschke, M.; Schulz, C. The Contribution of Managed and Unmanaged Forests to Climate Change Mitigation—A Model Approach at Stand Level for the Main Tree Species in Bavaria. Forests 2013, 4, 43-69.
Klein D, Höllerl S, Blaschke M, Schulz C. The Contribution of Managed and Unmanaged Forests to Climate Change Mitigation—A Model Approach at Stand Level for the Main Tree Species in Bavaria. Forests. 2013; 4(1):43-69.
Klein, Daniel; Höllerl, Sebastian; Blaschke, Markus; Schulz, Christoph. 2013. "The Contribution of Managed and Unmanaged Forests to Climate Change Mitigation—A Model Approach at Stand Level for the Main Tree Species in Bavaria." Forests 4, no. 1: 43-69.