Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
FIA Project Y071030

    Determining Forest Health Impacts of Fuel Loading and Fires for Use by the CBM-CFS3 Carbon Accounting Model: FP-Y07-1030
Project lead: Spittlehouse, Dave
Contributing Authors: Beukema, Sarah J.; ESSA Technologies Ltd.
Imprint: Vancouver, BC : ESSA Technologies Ltd., 2007
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), Carbon, British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program
The Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3), recently released by the Canadian Forest Service, is a tool that is effective at quantifying changes in carbon in Canada’s forests. The CBM-CFS3 is a mature and extensively reviewed model that simulates a number of forest health issues: surface fuels (aboveground dead organic matter), stand-replacing fire or insects, and non-stand-replacing attacks from insects such as defoliators and bark beetles. The model relies on broad-scale regional parameters to estimate impacts such as C release from insects and fires, fuel consumption, and regrowth of stands following disturbance. Forest health issues such as root diseases and other pathogens are not explicitly included in the model. As a consequence, in parts of the interior of BC, the CBM-CFS3 may overpredict growth and underpredict mortality and soil C values. Two other key forest health management issues are the high fuel loads in Canadian forests, and finding strategies for mitigating their C release impact – especially during fires. The CBM-CFS3 is a good tool for comparing and predicting C changes at the regional scale, based on different fuel treatment scenarios. The model, however, does not currently have adequate parameters and methodologies for addressing these issues. The CBM-CFS3 can benefit from research done with detailed stand-level models, especially those that explicitly incorporate forest health issues. For example, some research has been done (or is currently underway) using models from the boreal forest to provide more information and parameters on fuel consumption and fire emissions from different types of fires. Other stand-levels models have been used to help parameterize base mortality and turnover rates for even-aged stands. To date little, if any, parameterization of the CBM-CFS3 has been done for complex stand types, using information from multi-species, multi-age growth models such as PrognosisBC (Robinson 2004). In addition to modelling complex stands, PrognosisBC contains several forest health components including a research version of the Fire and Fuels Extension (FFE; Reinhardt and Crookston 2003), which can be used to simulate fuels and fuel treatments and to predict impacts of fire, and the Western Root Disease Model (WRDM, Beukema and Kurz, 1998, Beukema et al. 1998), which can be used to simulate the impact of root disease in a stand. In this project PrognosisBC, in conjunction with the WRDM and the FFE, will be used to explore: 1. effects of root disease (including changes in growth curves and increases in mortality) in different stand types with different management options; and 2. fire severity, emissions, and fuel consumption in different stand types with different fuel and stand management options. Results from these simulations will be transformed into new parameters and rules that can be used by the CBM-CFS3 so that it can scale this stand level information up to the regional level. The CBM-CFS3 can then be used to evaluate the carbon impacts of assumptions about root disease levels, levels of other pathogens that may have a similar overall impact, and alternative fuel treatment strategies. For example the CBM-CFS3 could be used to compare a fuel reduction programme with reduced overall wildfire risk against a business-as-usual baseline, or could compare the impact of overestimating areas with severe pathogen infections with assuming no pathogen presence (the current assumption). It will assist forest health managers to evaluate the possible impacts of management options on BC’s forest carbon emissions.


Final report (0.2Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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