Research Branch

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The Carbon Budget of British Columbia's Forests, 1920-1989: Preliminary Analysis and Recommendations for Refinements

Author(s) or contact(s): W.A. Kurz, M.J. Apps, P.G. Comeau, and J.A. Trofymow
Source: Research Branch
Subject: Climate
Series: FRDA Report
Other details:  Published 1996. Hardcopy is available.


The Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS2) is a national-scale model of forest sector carbon (C) pools and fluxes. This model has been applied to conduct a retrospective analysis of the C budget of the forests of British Columbia for the period 1920-1989. The estimates from the model indicate that forest ecosystem C storage has increased from 14.2 Pg C in 1920 to 18.1 Pg C 1990. The increase in ecosystem C storage is attributed to an increase in the average age of forests and to the associated accumulation of C in biomass and soil and detritus pools. The average annual increase in ecosystem C storage over the 70-year period was 55.2 Tg C yr1. It has decreased from 76.0 Tg C yr1 in the period 1920-1924 to 18.7 Tg C yr1 in the period 1985-1989. This change is due to reduced C accumulation rates as forests increase in age, and to increased removal of biomass C through harvesting. This report describes in detail the assumptions behind the model and the data sources for historic disturbances, such as wildfire, forest insects, and different types of harvesting. After reviewing refinement of the model input parameters and assumptions, the model can be employed to analyse British Columbia's forest sector C budget for alternative future scenarios. The report concludes with recommendations that address remaining uncertainties and suggestions for revisions to the model.

FRDA Research Report 261 (4939 KB)

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Updated July 24, 2015