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Open AccessArticle

A Flexible Hybrid Model of Life Cycle Carbon Balance for Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.) Management Systems

School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, P.O. Box 110410, Gainesville, FL 32611-0410, USA
CellFor Corporation, 817 West Peachtree Street NW, Suite 210, Atlanta, GA 30308, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2011, 2(3), 749-776;
Received: 13 May 2011 / Revised: 3 August 2011 / Accepted: 1 September 2011 / Published: 15 September 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Adaptation of Forests and Forest Management to Climate Change)
In this study we analyzed the effects of silvicultural treatments on carbon (C) budgets in Pinus taeda L. (loblolly pine) plantations in the southeastern United States. We developed a hybrid model that integrated a widely used growth and yield model for loblolly pine with published allometric and biometric equations to simulate in situ C pools. The model used current values of forest product conversion efficiencies and forest product decay rates to calculate ex situ C pools. Using the model to evaluate the effects of silvicultural management systems on C sequestration over a 200 year simulation period, we concluded that site productivity (site quality), which can be altered by silviculture and genetic improvement, was the major factor controlling stand C density. On low productivity sites, average net C stocks were about 35% lower than in stands with the default average site quality; in contrast, on high quality sites, C stocks were about 38% greater than average productivity stands. If woody products were incorporated into the accounting, thinning was C positive because of the larger positive effects on ex situ C storage, rather than smaller reductions on in situ C storage. The use of biological rotation age (18 years) was not suitable for C sequestration, and extended rotation ages were found to increase stand C stock density. Stands with an 18-year-rotation length had 7% lower net C density than stands with a 22-year-rotation length; stands with a 35-year-rotation length had only 4% more C than stands harvested at age 22 years. The C sequestered in woody products was an important pool of C storage, accounting for ~34% of the average net C stock. Changes in decomposition rate, associated with possible environmental changes resulting from global climate change, affected C storage capacity of the forest. When decay rate was reduced to 10% or increased to 20%, the C stock in the dead pool (forest floor and coarse woody debris) was reduced about 11.8 MgC∙ha−1 or increased about 13.3 MgC∙ha−1, respectively, compared to the average decay rate of 15%. The C emissions due to silvicultural and harvest activities were small (~1.6% of the gross C stock) compared to the magnitude of total stand C stock. The C model, based on empirical and biological relationships, appears appropriate for use in regional C stock assessments for loblolly pine plantation ecosystems in the southern U.S. View Full-Text
Keywords: loblolly pine; silviculture; stand dynamics; forest floor; life cycle analysis; carbon stock modeling loblolly pine; silviculture; stand dynamics; forest floor; life cycle analysis; carbon stock modeling
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Gonzalez-Benecke, C.A.; Martin, T.A.; Jokela, E.J.; Torre, R.D.L. A Flexible Hybrid Model of Life Cycle Carbon Balance for Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda L.) Management Systems. Forests 2011, 2, 749-776.

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