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Forests 2017, 8(11), 455; doi:10.3390/f8110455

Climate Change Mitigation Potential in Boreal Forests: Impacts of Management, Harvest Intensity and Use of Forest Biomass to Substitute Fossil Resources

1
School of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science and Forestry, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland
2
Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences, University of Chittagong, Chittagong 4331, Bangladesh
3
Natural Resources Institute Finland, Joensuu Unit, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101 Joensuu, Finland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 September 2017 / Revised: 1 November 2017 / Accepted: 14 November 2017 / Published: 18 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

The impacts of alternative forest management scenarios and harvest intensities on climate change mitigation potential of forest biomass production, utilization and economic profitability of biomass production were studied in three boreal sub-regions in Finland over a 40-year period. Ecosystem modelling and life cycle assessment tools were used to calculate the mitigation potential in substituting fossil materials and energy, expressed as the net CO2 exchange. Currently recommended management targeting to timber production acted as a baseline management. Alternative management included maintaining 20% higher or lower stocking in forests and final felling made at lower breast height diameter than used in the baseline. In alternative management scenarios, logging residues and logging residues with coarse roots and stumps were harvested in final felling in addition to timber. The net CO2 exchange in the southern and eastern sub-regions was higher compared to the western one due to higher net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) over the study period. Maintaining higher stocking with earlier final felling and intensified biomass harvest appeared to be the best option to increase both climate benefits and economic returns. Trade-offs between the highest net CO2 exchange and economic profitability of biomass production existed. The use of alternative displacement factors largely affected the mitigation potential of forest biomass. View Full-Text
Keywords: avoided emissions; carbon stock; energy biomass; final felling; net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE); net CO2 exchange; wood products avoided emissions; carbon stock; energy biomass; final felling; net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE); net CO2 exchange; wood products
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Baul, T.K.; Alam, A.; Ikonen, A.; Strandman, H.; Asikainen, A.; Peltola, H.; Kilpeläinen, A. Climate Change Mitigation Potential in Boreal Forests: Impacts of Management, Harvest Intensity and Use of Forest Biomass to Substitute Fossil Resources. Forests 2017, 8, 455.

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