Forest Investment Account

Abstract of FII Project R02-43

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Implications of forest management practices on carbon dynamics: a value trade-off assessment - final report

Author(s): Harrison, David; Seely, Brad; Nelson, John
Imprint: Vancouver, B.C. : Canadian Forest Products Ltd., 2003
Subject: Carbon Dioxide Sinks, British Columbia, Models
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program


In response to increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 and the associated risk of disrupting climate patterns, the public and private sector are being pressured to examine the contributions of forest ecosystems to global carbon budgets. The principal objective of this project was to develop a methodology for applying the FORECAST and ATLAS models to asses the implications of alternative forest management practices on ecosystem carbon dynamics in the context of multiple forest values. The project was designed to build upon an integrated modelling framework established at the University of British Columbia as part of multidisciplinary project funded by CANFOR, CFS and NSERC/SSHRC. The test area for the project was a subsection of TFL48 located in north-eastern BC. The incorporation of carbon dynamics as part of a multi-criteria analysis of alternative forest management strategies represents an innovative approach to forest carbon accounting. Stand-level ecosystem carbon dynamics were simulated and examined using the FORECAST model. Ecosystem carbon storage curves were developed for a wide range of natural and managed forest stand types (82 natural stand types & 52 managed stand types) that are representative of those occurring in TFL48 in north-eastern BC. These curves were subsequently included as part of a relational database within the ATLAS harvest scheduling model. Three landscape-level scenarios were simulated for block 4 of TFL 48 including a baseline natural disturbance scenario, a dispersed harvesting scenario and an aggregated harvesting scenario. The implications for long-term ecosystem carbon storage were evaluated for each. In addition, stand level curves were examined to illustrate the temporal relationships between ecosystem C storage and other indicators of sustainable forest management. One of the objectives of the project was to develop regional equations for predicting soil carbon content in different forest types. However, the relationships between soil C storage and the modeled variables within the data set were too poor to render any useful equations. An alternative method of estimating initial soil C pools was employed.
Dave Harrison, Brad Seely, John Nelson.

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Updated August 02, 2006 

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