Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
FIA Project 4880006

    Carbon budget modelling and optimization analysis on the Boundary TSA
Project lead: Sherman, Kelly (Timberline Inventory Consultants)
Author: Timberline Natural Resource Group Ltd.
Subject: Forest Investment Account (FIA), British Columbia
Series: Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Land Base Investment Program
It is well understood that greenhouse gasses (GHG) such as carbon dioxide (CO2), in the atmosphere can contribute to climate change. Our forests can sequester carbon to reduce the accumulation rate of CO2 in the atmosphere or do the contrary and be a net source of carbon (stemming from CO2 emitted during normal plant respiration, decomposition, or forest fires) that increases the accumulation rate of atmospheric CO2).

In 2008 British Columbia Timber Sales (BCTS) contracted Timberline Natural Resource Group Ltd (Timberline). to carry out a carbon budget analysis to assess the impact their current and potential management regimes have on carbon stocks in the Boundary TSA. A Type 2 Silviculture Analysis was carried out to look for opportunities to mitigate timber supply impacts and environmental impacts of the MPB epidemic. In the Type 2 analysis the 'status quo' management regime was modeled as a basecase, upon which there were many modeling runs done to test the timber supply impact of management decisions and modelling assumptions. Using all the findings from the analysis a proposed scenario was created, which is a recommended management regime. A carbon budget analysis was carried out to understand how the harvest scenarios impact forest ecosystem carbon budgets. This was done by recreating both scenarios, the basecase and the recommended scenario, in the Carbon Budget Model (CBM) of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) and analyzing the results.

While the project provided some insight into the impact our management decision have on carbon stocks it also made it clear that there were other variables that need to be considered, such as:
1. A component of the harvested wood will store carbon as wood products. This factor needs to be considered otherwise all harvesting activity is considered to be emitted into the atmosphere which is not the case; and
2. Carbon emitted by forestry activities such as harvesting, fertilization etc.

The most significant improvement in this carbon budget modeling project is that we are carrying out carbon based optimization analysis to help make resource management decision considering carbon . Patchworks was chosen as the optimisation model and is a spatially explicit harvest scheduling optimization model developed by Spatial Planning Systems in Ontario. The analysis uses the optimisation model to incorporate and investigate the benefits and trade-offs between the carbon objectives and the multitude of silviculture and management decisions possible. The results from the optimization analysis are run through the (CBM) to assess the impact on carbon budgets.

The CBM-CFS3 is a landscape level carbon accounting framework that simulates, for a selected period of time, carbon dynamics of above-ground and below-ground forest biomass and dead organic matter. Landscape-level forest carbon accounting is carried out in the CBM-CFS3 by tracking the carbon dynamics associated with both stand-level and landscape-level processes . It is also considered an inventory-based model, which relies on growth and yield data to estimate carbon stock budgets (Kurz & Apps 1992, 1996).

The analysis scenarios that will be optimized in Patchworks and recreated in the CBM model are:
1. A "No Harvest" scenario to form a baseline for comparison;
2. A "Maximize Ecosystem Carbon" scenario;
3. A "Maximize Total Carbon" scenario which includes ecosystem carbon and carbon stored as wood products;
4. An "Optimum Management" scenario which considers carbon amongst other resource values.

This optimum management scenario will integrate environmental, timber and carbon objectives will include:
" Aggressive harvesting and reforestation in MPB affected areas while taking into consideration hydrological sensitivity;
" Use a management strategy based on historical fire patterns (NDT and biodiversity guidebook). Harvest in patterns to mimic a natural spatial disturbance distribution;
" Fertilization where it makes sense;
" Select rotation ages for optimal carbon sequestration;
" Manage to maximize volume without compromising other values; and
" Consider environmental variables such as ecosystem representation, course woody debris and snags.

For each scenario, the following will be tracked and reported on across the planning horizon for the Boundary TSA:
" Total carbon stocks;
" Biomass carbon stocks;
" DOM carbon stocks (snags and CWD);
" Change in carbon stocks; and
" Carbon stored in forest products.
" Summary of the targets applied;
" Summary of harvest volumes achieved;
" Summary of disturbances and treatments applied;
" Summary of RMZ performance;

This report documents the patchworks and CBM assumptions and methodology as well as provide the results of the analysis.


Final Report (1.1Mb)

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Updated August 16, 2010 

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