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Under What Circumstances Do Wood Products from Native Forests Benefit Climate Change Mitigation?

Keith H, Lindenmayer D, Macintosh A, Mackey B - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: Conservation of native forests results in an immediate and substantial reduction in net emissions relative to a reference case of commercial harvesting.International forest-related policies, including negotiations under the UNFCCC, have failed to recognize fully the mitigation value of native forest conservation.Our analyses provide evidence for decision-making about the circumstances under which forest management provides mitigation benefits.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Climate change mitigation benefits from the land sector are not being fully realised because of uncertainty and controversy about the role of native forest management. The dominant policy view, as stated in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, is that sustainable forest harvesting yielding wood products, generates the largest mitigation benefit. We demonstrate that changing native forest management from commercial harvesting to conservation can make an important contribution to mitigation. Conservation of native forests results in an immediate and substantial reduction in net emissions relative to a reference case of commercial harvesting. We calibrated models to simulate scenarios of native forest management for two Australian case studies: mixed-eucalypt in New South Wales and Mountain Ash in Victoria. Carbon stocks in the harvested forest included forest biomass, wood and paper products, waste in landfill, and bioenergy that substituted for fossil fuel energy. The conservation forest included forest biomass, and subtracted stocks for the foregone products that were substituted by non-wood products or plantation products. Total carbon stocks were lower in harvested forest than in conservation forest in both case studies over the 100-year simulation period. We tested a range of potential parameter values reported in the literature: none could increase the combined carbon stock in products, slash, landfill and substitution sufficiently to exceed the increase in carbon stock due to changing management of native forest to conservation. The key parameters determining carbon stock change under different forest management scenarios are those affecting accumulation of carbon in forest biomass, rather than parameters affecting transfers among wood products. This analysis helps prioritise mitigation activities to focus on maximising forest biomass. International forest-related policies, including negotiations under the UNFCCC, have failed to recognize fully the mitigation value of native forest conservation. Our analyses provide evidence for decision-making about the circumstances under which forest management provides mitigation benefits.

No MeSH data available.


Carbon stocks and transfers in a forest and harvested wood products system.Boxes represent stocks of carbon, and arrows represent transfers between stocks with the process defined in italics.
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pone.0139640.g001: Carbon stocks and transfers in a forest and harvested wood products system.Boxes represent stocks of carbon, and arrows represent transfers between stocks with the process defined in italics.

Mentions: Our analyses required accounting for all carbon stocks in the native forest management system and post-harvest products: forest biomass carbon; harvested wood products; waste material; and potential substitution of wood products for other materials, and bioenergy for fossil fuel as a source of energy. All components of biomass were included in the carbon stock: living and dead, above-and below-ground biomass. Owing to data limitations, soil carbon stocks were excluded (Australia does not account for soil carbon in harvested native forests in its national greenhouse gas accounts for the same reason [27]). Changes in carbon stocks were described by transfers of biomass through forest harvesting, forest regrowth, wood products processing and use, rates of decomposition and combustion, energy conversion efficiencies, and disposal of waste (Fig 1). The proportions of each of these stocks vary depending on the forest type and species, silvicultural treatment and market for products. Carbon stocks were defined by their magnitude, longevity and stability [28].


Under What Circumstances Do Wood Products from Native Forests Benefit Climate Change Mitigation?

Keith H, Lindenmayer D, Macintosh A, Mackey B - PLoS ONE (2015)

Carbon stocks and transfers in a forest and harvested wood products system.Boxes represent stocks of carbon, and arrows represent transfers between stocks with the process defined in italics.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4593608&req=5

pone.0139640.g001: Carbon stocks and transfers in a forest and harvested wood products system.Boxes represent stocks of carbon, and arrows represent transfers between stocks with the process defined in italics.
Mentions: Our analyses required accounting for all carbon stocks in the native forest management system and post-harvest products: forest biomass carbon; harvested wood products; waste material; and potential substitution of wood products for other materials, and bioenergy for fossil fuel as a source of energy. All components of biomass were included in the carbon stock: living and dead, above-and below-ground biomass. Owing to data limitations, soil carbon stocks were excluded (Australia does not account for soil carbon in harvested native forests in its national greenhouse gas accounts for the same reason [27]). Changes in carbon stocks were described by transfers of biomass through forest harvesting, forest regrowth, wood products processing and use, rates of decomposition and combustion, energy conversion efficiencies, and disposal of waste (Fig 1). The proportions of each of these stocks vary depending on the forest type and species, silvicultural treatment and market for products. Carbon stocks were defined by their magnitude, longevity and stability [28].

Bottom Line: Conservation of native forests results in an immediate and substantial reduction in net emissions relative to a reference case of commercial harvesting.International forest-related policies, including negotiations under the UNFCCC, have failed to recognize fully the mitigation value of native forest conservation.Our analyses provide evidence for decision-making about the circumstances under which forest management provides mitigation benefits.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Fenner School of Environment and Society, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

ABSTRACT
Climate change mitigation benefits from the land sector are not being fully realised because of uncertainty and controversy about the role of native forest management. The dominant policy view, as stated in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, is that sustainable forest harvesting yielding wood products, generates the largest mitigation benefit. We demonstrate that changing native forest management from commercial harvesting to conservation can make an important contribution to mitigation. Conservation of native forests results in an immediate and substantial reduction in net emissions relative to a reference case of commercial harvesting. We calibrated models to simulate scenarios of native forest management for two Australian case studies: mixed-eucalypt in New South Wales and Mountain Ash in Victoria. Carbon stocks in the harvested forest included forest biomass, wood and paper products, waste in landfill, and bioenergy that substituted for fossil fuel energy. The conservation forest included forest biomass, and subtracted stocks for the foregone products that were substituted by non-wood products or plantation products. Total carbon stocks were lower in harvested forest than in conservation forest in both case studies over the 100-year simulation period. We tested a range of potential parameter values reported in the literature: none could increase the combined carbon stock in products, slash, landfill and substitution sufficiently to exceed the increase in carbon stock due to changing management of native forest to conservation. The key parameters determining carbon stock change under different forest management scenarios are those affecting accumulation of carbon in forest biomass, rather than parameters affecting transfers among wood products. This analysis helps prioritise mitigation activities to focus on maximising forest biomass. International forest-related policies, including negotiations under the UNFCCC, have failed to recognize fully the mitigation value of native forest conservation. Our analyses provide evidence for decision-making about the circumstances under which forest management provides mitigation benefits.

No MeSH data available.