Special Issue "Cool Forests at risk? The Critical Role of Boreal and Mountain Ecosystems for People, Bioeconomy, and Climate"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Florian Kraxner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Center for Landscape Resilience & Management (CLR), Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM), International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Interests: forest and land use modeling; sustainable biomass production; forest-based bioenergy; renewable energy systems; forest ecosystems services; forest certification; SDGs and the forest; land-based negative emission technologies (NETs) including afforestation, reforestation, restoration, and BECCS
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Jaana Bäck
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Dr. Hélène Genet
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, USA
Interests: Climate Change; Climate Variability; Environmental Impact Assessment; Biogeochemistry; Ecosystem Functioning; Nutrient Cycling; Terrestrial ecology
Dr. Liudmila Mukhortova
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Sukachev Institute of Forest Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Federal Research Center "Krasnoyarsk Science Center SB RAS", Krasnoyarsk 660036, Russia
Interests: carbon cycle; carbon budget in forest ecosystems; soil organic matter; soil respiration; forest litter; coarse woody debris; decomposition
Mr. Aapo Rautiainen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Natural Resources Institute Finland, Helsinki, Finland
Dr. Anni Reissell
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Arctic Futures Initiative, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria
2. Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR), University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Interests: Inter- and transdisciplinary Arctic research on social, economical, technological, environmental and political aspects; stakeholders and participatory engagement; science diplomacy, integrated land-ecosystem atmosphere processes in relation to climate change and global change; global change research and international global change research programs and policies; atmospheric chemistry and measurements; ambient air and chamber studies of biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOC); sampling and measurements of BVOC; natural radioactivity; air quality measurements and quality control procedures for sampling and analysis of inorganic and organic compounds, aerosol particles
Dr. Vincent Roy
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa, Canada
Dr. Dmitry Schepaschenko
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Ecosystem Services and Management (ESM) Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Interests: sample plots; visual interpretation of very high-resolution imagery; biomass structure; boreal forest; validation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Selected Articles from the IBFRA18 Conference, hosted by the International Boreal Forest Research Association (IBFRA), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the Pan-Eurasian Experiment (PEEX), and the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), 17-20 September 2018, in Laxenburg, Austria.

Dear Colleagues,

Forests developed in regions of cold climate over thousands of years. These “Cool Forests”, located in boreal and mountain areas, make up more than one third of the global forest extent. They are found from the circumpolar belt in the northern hemisphere to high-elevation zones in temperate, mid-latitude and tropical zones. Cool Forests show many similarities throughout the boreal and high mountain ecozones - especially with respect to species composition, growth patterns, and response to climate exposure. They are tremendously important for carbon storage, together forming the single largest carbon pool of all terrestrial ecosystems. Cool Forests are partially underlined by permafrost soils and deliver much of the world’s harvested wood products including timber, pulp, and paper. Furthermore, they are home to unique landscapes and biological diversity, providing ecosystems that are crucial for the livelihoods of millions of people.

Yet, the impacts of current social, economic, environmental, and technological changes on Cool Forests remain uncertain. As climate is changing and temperatures rise, the permafrost is thawing, resulting in significant release of greenhouse gases which further accelerate climate change. Permafrost thawing in mountain and boreal ecozones has already caused soil collapses, landslides, rock falls, and mudflows (e.g. in densely populated areas of the Alps and in the Third Pole region). In addition, rising temperatures are linked to an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disturbances such as wildfire, insect outbreaks, and wind storms and thus present a growing threat to people and nature, the bioeconomy and the climate.

This special issue aims at collecting the insights gained at the 2018 International Boreal Forest Research Association Conference “Cool Forests at Risk?” (https://ibfra18.org), where over 200 experts from science, policy, and the civil society from around 30 countries and all continents came together to pool knowledge and expertise to examine the critical ecosystem services of Cool Forests, identify their risks and vulnerability, and propose options to maintain and sustainably manage them. Furthermore, the conference aimed at identifying future pathways for policy, industry, and civil society, and – vice-versa – to inform the scientific community on how to develop transdisciplinary strategies through improved collaboration and communication. Ultimately, the goal was to raise awareness of the critical role of boreal and mountain forest ecosystems for people, bioeconomy, and climate through the Cool Forest Ambassador Initiative to support further research on Cool Forests.

Failing to maintain and sustainably manage Cool Forests could put millions of livelihoods and indispensable ecosystems at risk and simultaneously, render the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and likewise the aims of the Paris Agreement unattainable.

Considering the above risks and goals, we invite transdisciplinary articles targeting new insights into a broad array of topics including: Cool Forests and climate change; Risk resilient and sustainable management of Cool Forests to contribute to the SDGs — also bridging to the Food–Water–Energy Nexus; innovative products contributing to a healthy bioeconomy; the generation of relevant new information through monitoring and citizen science; ecosystem services and their protection including forest restoration; forest-based negative emission technologies including afforestation and BECCS; marketing and social aspects; as well as new forest-related strategies and policies, their implementation and impacts.

The issue is also open to receiving regular submissions that discuss a relevant topic.

Dr. Florian Kraxner
Prof. Dr. Jaana Bäck
Prof. Dr. Hélène Genet
Dr. Liudmila Mukhortova
Mr. Aapo Rautiainen
Dr. Anni Reissell
Dr. Vincent Roy
Prof. Dr. Dmitry Schepaschenko
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cool Forests
  • Boreal forests and ecosystems
  • Mountain forests and ecosystems
  • Global change
  • Low temperature forests
  • Cool Forests in the tropics
  • Cool Forests and the Mid-Latitude Ecotone
  • Cool Forests and the Third Pole
  • Cool Forests and climate change
  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Permafrost
  • Innovative Cool Forest products
  • Adaptive risk resilient forest management
  • Sustainable biomass production
  • Cool Forests and the bioeconomy
  • Forest fires and other disturbances
  • Negative Emissions from Cool Forests
  • Cool Forest afforestation, reforestation, and restoration
  • Cool Forest policy
  • Cool Forest livelihoods
  • Forest monitoring

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
Temperature Sensitivity of CO2 and CH4 Fluxes from Coarse Woody Debris in Northern Boreal Forests
Forests 2021, 12(5), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12050624 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are recognized as the main greenhouse gases causing climate warming. In forest ecosystems, the death of trees leads to the formation of coarse woody debris (CWD) that is one of the sources of [...] Read more.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) are recognized as the main greenhouse gases causing climate warming. In forest ecosystems, the death of trees leads to the formation of coarse woody debris (CWD) that is one of the sources of greenhouse gas emissions due to wood decomposition. We quantified the CO2 and CH4 fluxes from CWD of larch (Larix gmelinii (Rupr.)) and birch (Betula tortuosa Ledeb.) collected in the northern boreal forests of Central Siberia. The CWD samples were incubated at +5, +15 and +25 °C. The CO2 and CH4 fluxes showed strong correlations with temperature, moisture, decomposition stage and the type of wood’s rot. The temperature coefficient Q10 indicated higher temperature sensitivity of CO2 flux within the temperature interval from +5 to +15 °C than from +15 to +25 °C. Methane flux had higher temperature sensitivity within the interval from +15 to +25 °C. It was found that, in boreal forests, CWD of early decay stage can serve as a source of methane to the atmosphere when air temperatures increased above +15 °C. Strong positive correlation between CH4 production and CO2 emission indicated a biological source and supported findings on aerobic origin of the main process contributing to the CH4 flux from decomposing CWD. Full article
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Article
Regional Climate, Edaphic Conditions and Establishment Substrates Interact to Influence Initial Growth of Black Spruce and Jack Pine Planted in the Boreal Forest
Forests 2020, 11(2), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11020139 - 24 Jan 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 888
Abstract
In eastern Canada, spruces (Picea spp.) and pines (Pinus spp.) are among the main commercial species being logged for their lumber or wood fiber. Annually, about 175 million seedlings are planted in areas totaling ~100,000 ha. Appropriate microsite selection is essential [...] Read more.
In eastern Canada, spruces (Picea spp.) and pines (Pinus spp.) are among the main commercial species being logged for their lumber or wood fiber. Annually, about 175 million seedlings are planted in areas totaling ~100,000 ha. Appropriate microsite selection is essential during reforestation operations, given that it can improve the chances of survival and initial growth of the seedlings. In fir (Abies spp.) and spruce forests of eastern Canada, the optimal characteristics of establishment microsites have yet to be identified; these would be determined by different physical and climatic variables operating at several scales. Our study determined the influence of climatic (regional-scale), edaphic (stand-scale), local (microsite-scale) and planting conditions on the establishment substrate and initial growth of black spruce (Picea mariana Britton, Sterns and Poggenb.) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.). Substrate characterization and growth monitoring (three growing seasons) for the two species were conducted on 29 planted cutblocks that were distributed over an east–west climatic gradient (precipitation and temperature) in the balsam fir and black spruce–feather moss forests of Quebec (Canada). Linear mixed models and multivariate analyses (PCAs) determined the effects of climatic, edaphic and micro-environmental variables and their interactions on the establishment substrate and seedling initial growth. The predictive models explained, respectively, 61% and 75% of the growth variability of black spruce and jack pine. Successful establishment of black spruce and jack pine depended upon regional conditions of precipitations and temperature, as well as on their interactions with stand-scale edaphic variables (surface deposit, drainage and slope) and local variables (micro-environmental) at the microsite-scale (establishment substrate types and substrate temperature). Mineral, organo-mineral and organic establishment substrates exerted mixed effects on seedling growth according to regional precipitation and temperature conditions, as well as their interactions with edaphic and local variables at the stand and microsite-scales, respectively. Full article
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Article
Potential Solar Radiation as a Driver for Bark Beetle Infestation on a Landscape Scale
Forests 2019, 10(7), 604; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070604 - 23 Jul 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1408
Abstract
In recent decades, Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) forests of the High Tatra Mountains have suffered unprecedented tree mortality caused by European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus L.). Analysis of the spatiotemporal pattern of bark beetle outbreaks across the landscape [...] Read more.
In recent decades, Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.) forests of the High Tatra Mountains have suffered unprecedented tree mortality caused by European spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus L.). Analysis of the spatiotemporal pattern of bark beetle outbreaks across the landscape in consecutive years can provide new insights into the population dynamics of tree-killing insects. A bark beetle outbreak occurred in the High Tatra Mountains after a storm damaged more than 10,000 ha of forests in 2004. We combined yearly Landsat-derived bark beetle infestation spots from 2006 to 2014 and meteorological data to identify the susceptibility of forest stands to beetle infestation. We found that digital elevation model (DEM)-derived potential radiation loads predicted beetle infestation, especially in the peak phase of beetle epidemic. Moreover, spots attacked at the beginning of our study period had higher values of received solar radiation than spots at the end of the study period, indicating that bark beetles prefer sites with higher insolation during outbreak. We conclude that solar radiation, easily determined from the DEM, better identified beetle infestations than commonly used meteorological variables. We recommend including potential solar radiation in beetle infestation prediction models. Full article
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Article
Quantifying Impacts of National-Scale Afforestation on Carbon Budgets in South Korea from 1961 to 2014
Forests 2019, 10(7), 579; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070579 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1337
Abstract
Forests play an important role in regulating the carbon (C) cycle. The main objective of this study was to quantify the effects of South Korean national reforestation programs on carbon budgets. We estimated the changes in C stocks and annual C sequestration in [...] Read more.
Forests play an important role in regulating the carbon (C) cycle. The main objective of this study was to quantify the effects of South Korean national reforestation programs on carbon budgets. We estimated the changes in C stocks and annual C sequestration in the years 1961–2014 using Korea-specific models, a forest cover map (FCM), national forest inventory (NFI) data, and climate data. Furthermore, we examined the differences in C budgets between Cool forests (forests at elevations above 700 m) and forests in lower-altitude areas. Simulations including the effects of climate conditions on forest dynamics showed that the C stocks of the total forest area increased from 6.65 Tg C in 1961 to 476.21 Tg C in 2014. The model developed here showed a high degree of spatiotemporal reliability. The mean C stocks of the Cool forests and other forests increased from 4.03 and 0.43 Mg C ha−1, respectively, to 102.43 and 73.76 Mg C ha−1 at a rate of 1.82 and 1.36 Mg C ha−1 yr−1 during the same period. These results imply that, although the total Cool forest area of South Korea occupied only about 12.3% (772,788 ha) of the total forest area, the Cool forests play important roles in C balances and forest ecosystems in South Korea. Annual C sequestration totals are projected to decrease at a low rate in the near future because the overall growth rate of a mature forest decreases as the stand ages. Our results quantified forest C dynamics in South Korean forests before and after national reforestation programs. Furthermore, our results can help in development of regional and national forest management strategies to allow for sustainable development of society and to cope with climate change in South Korea. Full article
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Article
European Union’s Last Intact Forest Landscapes are at A Value Chain Crossroad between Multiple Use and Intensified Wood Production
Forests 2019, 10(7), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070564 - 07 Jul 2019
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4151
Abstract
Research Highlights: The European Union’s last large intact forest landscapes along the Scandinavian Mountain range in Sweden offer unique opportunities for conservation of biodiversity, ecological integrity and resilience. However, these forests are at a crossroad between intensified wood production aimed at bio-economy, and [...] Read more.
Research Highlights: The European Union’s last large intact forest landscapes along the Scandinavian Mountain range in Sweden offer unique opportunities for conservation of biodiversity, ecological integrity and resilience. However, these forests are at a crossroad between intensified wood production aimed at bio-economy, and rural development based on multi-functional forest landscapes for future-oriented forest value chains. Background and Objectives: We (1) estimate the area of near-natural forests potentially remaining for forest harvesting and wood production, or as green infrastructure for biodiversity conservation and human well-being in rural areas, (2) review how forest and conservation policies have so far succeeded to reduce the loss of mountain forests, and (3) discuss what economic, socio-cultural and ecological values that are at stake, as well as different governance and management solutions. Materials and Methods: First, we estimated the remaining amount of intact mountain forests using (1) the Swedish National Forest Inventory, (2) protected area statistics, (3) forest harvest permit applications and actually harvested forests, (4) remote sensing wall-to-wall data on forests not subject to clear-felling since the mid-1950s, (5) mapping of productive and non-productive forestland, and (6) estimates of mean annual final felling rate. Second, we review policy documents related to the emergence of land use regulation in north Sweden, including the mountain forest border, and illustrate this with an actual case that has had significant policy implementation importance. Results: There is a clear difference between the proportions of formally protected productive forestland above the mountain forest border (52.5%) and north Sweden in general (6.3%). A total of 300,000 ha of previously not clear-felled mountain forest outside protected areas remain, which can support novel value chains that are not achievable elsewhere. Conclusions: The mountain forests in Sweden provide unique conservation values in the European Union. Since the beginning of the 1990s, policy regulations have been successful in limiting forest harvesting. Currently, however, mountain forests are a battle ground regarding intensification of forest use, including logging of forests that have never been subject to clear-felling systems vs. nature conservation and wilderness as a base for rural development. The ability of mountain municipalities to encourage sustainable rural forest landscapes must be strengthened. Full article
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Article
The Use of Satellite Information (MODIS/Aqua) for Phenological and Classification Analysis of Plant Communities
Forests 2019, 10(7), 561; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10070561 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1171
Abstract
Vegetation indices derived from remote sensing measurements are commonly used to describe and monitor vegetation. However, the same plant community can have a different NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) depending on weather conditions, and this complicates classification of plant communities. The present study [...] Read more.
Vegetation indices derived from remote sensing measurements are commonly used to describe and monitor vegetation. However, the same plant community can have a different NDVI (normalized difference vegetation index) depending on weather conditions, and this complicates classification of plant communities. The present study develops methods of classifying the types of plant communities based on long-term NDVI data (MODIS/Aqua). The number of variables is reduced by introducing two integrated parameters of the NDVI seasonal series, facilitating classification of the meadow, steppe, and forest plant communities in Siberia using linear discriminant analysis. The quality of classification conducted by using the markers characterizing NDVI dynamics during 2003–2017 varies between 94% (forest and steppe) and 68% (meadow and forest). In addition to determining phenological markers, canonical correlations have been calculated between the time series of the proposed markers and the time series of monthly average air temperatures. Based on this, each pixel with a definite plant composition can be characterized by only four values of canonical correlation coefficients over the entire period analyzed. By using canonical correlations between NDVI and weather parameters and employing linear discriminant analysis, one can obtain a highly accurate classification of the study plant communities. Full article
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Article
Assessing Forest Ecosystems across the Vertical Edge of the Mid-Latitude Ecotone Using the BioGeoChemistry Management Model (BGC-MAN)
Forests 2019, 10(6), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060523 - 23 Jun 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1188
Abstract
The mid-latitude ecotone (MLE)—a transition zone between boreal and temperate forests, which includes the regions of Northeast Asia around 30°–60° N latitudes—delivers different ecosystem functions depending on different management activities. In this study, we assessed forest volume and net primary productivity changes in [...] Read more.
The mid-latitude ecotone (MLE)—a transition zone between boreal and temperate forests, which includes the regions of Northeast Asia around 30°–60° N latitudes—delivers different ecosystem functions depending on different management activities. In this study, we assessed forest volume and net primary productivity changes in the MLE of Northeast Asia under different ecological characteristics, as well as various current management activities, using the BioGeoChemistry Management Model (BGC-MAN). We selected five pilot sites for pine (Scots pine and Korean red pine; Pinus sylvestris and P. densiflora), oak (Quercus spp.), and larch forests (Dahurian larch and Siberian larch; Larix gmelinii and L. sibirica), respectively, which covered the transition zone across the MLE from Lake Baikal, Russia to Kyushu, Japan, including Mongolia, Northeast China, and the Korean Peninsula. With site-specific information, soil characteristics, and management descriptions by forest species, we established their management characteristics as natural preserved forests, degraded forests, sandy and cold forest stands, and forests exposed to fires. We simulated forest volume (m3) and net primary productivity (Mg C ha−1) during 1960–2005 and compared the results with published literature. They were in the range of those specified in previous studies, with some site-levels under or over estimation, but unbiased estimates in their mean values for pine, oak, and larch forests. Annual rates of change in volume and net primary productivity differed by latitude, site conditions, and climatic characteristics. For larch forests, we identified a high mountain ecotype which warrants a separate model parameterization. We detected changes in forest ecosystems, explaining ecological transition in the Northeast Asian MLE. Under the transition, we need to resolve expected problems through appropriate forest management and social efforts. Full article
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Article
A Holistic View of Soils in Delivering Ecosystem Services in Forests: A Case Study in South Korea
Forests 2019, 10(6), 487; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10060487 - 05 Jun 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1599
Abstract
In 1955, after the Korean War, only 35% of the national land area in South Korea was covered by forests. In the 1960s, the Korean Government implemented the national forestation program in order to increase the extent of the forest surface and thereby [...] Read more.
In 1955, after the Korean War, only 35% of the national land area in South Korea was covered by forests. In the 1960s, the Korean Government implemented the national forestation program in order to increase the extent of the forest surface and thereby counteract the negative ecological consequences from deforestation, such as erosion and ground instability. According to previous studies, this led to an increase in carbon (C) accumulated in the forest biomass of 1.48 Gt CO2 (0.40 Gt C) in the period 1954–2012. However, these studies did not take into account the amount of soil organic carbon (SOC) that was accumulated during that period and the influence of management practices on soil ecosystem services. Currently, South Korean authorities are considering the idea of implementing some forest management practices in order to increase timber extraction (e.g., by reducing the cutting age of the trees or by applying thinning and tending measures). In this study, we assess the influence of these management regimes on SOC dynamics and propose a theoretical framework to assess the influence of forest management practices on three ecosystem services, namely, C sequestration, water supply, and biomass production, while considering soil functioning, and especially SOC, as a group of supporting services underpinning the three named ecosystem services. We find that, in terms of SOC sequestration, reducing the cutting age from 80 to 40 years would be suitable only in the case of high biomass production forests, whereas in the case of lower biomass production forests reducing the cutting age would achieve very low SOC levels. However, we propose that increasing tree species diversity, even though it would not lead to a direct increase in the SOC content, could help to lessen the negative effects of reducing the cutting age by improving other soil properties, which in turn positively affect soil functioning (e.g., soil biodiversity, nutrient availability) and the resilience of the forest ecosystem. Finally, we discuss potential policy approaches to incentivize sustainable management practices in South Korean forests from a soil protection perspective. Full article
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Article
Impact of Disturbances on the Carbon Cycle of Forest Ecosystems in Ukrainian Polissya
Forests 2019, 10(4), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10040337 - 15 Apr 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1801
Abstract
Climate change continues to threaten forests and their ecosystem services while substantially altering natural disturbance regimes. Land cover changes and consequent management entail discrepancies in carbon sequestration provided by forest ecosystems and its accounting. Currently there is a lack of sufficient and harmonized [...] Read more.
Climate change continues to threaten forests and their ecosystem services while substantially altering natural disturbance regimes. Land cover changes and consequent management entail discrepancies in carbon sequestration provided by forest ecosystems and its accounting. Currently there is a lack of sufficient and harmonized data for Ukraine that can be used for the robust and spatially explicit assessment of forest provisioning and regulation of ecosystem services. In the frame of this research, we established an experimental polygon (area 45 km2) in Northern Ukraine aiming at estimating main forest carbon stocks and fluxes and determining the impact caused by natural disturbances and harvest for the study period of 2010–2015. Coupled field inventory and remote sensing data (RapidEye image for 2010 and SPOT 6 image for 2015) were used. Land cover classification and estimation of biomass and carbon pools were carried out using Random Forest and k-Nearest Neighbors (k-NN) method, respectively. Remote sensing data indicates a ca. 16% increase of carbon stock, while ground-based computations have shown only a ca. 1% increase. Net carbon fluxes for the study period are relatively even: 5.4 Gg C·year−1 and 5.6 Gg C C·year−1 for field and remote sensing data, respectively. Stand-replacing wildfires, as well as insect outbreaks and wind damage followed by salvage logging, and timber harvest have caused 21% of carbon emissions among all C sources within the experimental polygon during the study period. Hence, remote sensing data and non-parametric methods coupled with field data can serve as reliable tools for the precise estimation of forest carbon cycles on a regional spatial scale. However, featured land cover changes lead to unexpected biases in consistent assessment of forest biophysical parameters, while current management practices neglect natural forest dynamics and amplify negative impact of disturbances on ecosystem services. Full article
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