Evaluating the suitability of management strategies of pure Norway spruce forests in the Black Forest area of Southwest Germany for adaptation to or mitigation of climate change

Yousefpour, R. et al., 2010. Environmental Management

Original research
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The study deals with the problem of evaluating management strategies for pure stands of Norway spruce (Picea abies Karst) to balance adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, taking into account multiple objectives of a forest owner. A simulation and optimization approach was used to evaluate the management of a 1000 ha model Age-Class forest, representing the age-class distribution of an area of 66,000 ha of pure Norway spruce forests in the Black Forest region of Southwest Germany. Eight silvicultural scenarios comprising five forest conversion schemes which were interpreted as “adaptation” strategies which aims at increasing the proportion of Beech, that is expected to better cope with climate change than the existing Norway spruce, and three conventional strategies including a “Do-nothing” alternative classified as “mitigation”, trying to keep rather higher levels of growing stock of spruce, were simulated using the empirical growth simulator BWINPro-S. A linear programming approach was adapted to simultaneously maximize the net present values of carbon sequestration and timber production subject to the two constraints of wood even flow and partial protection of the oldest (nature protection). The optimized plan, with the global utility of 11,687 €/ha in forty years, allocated a combination of silvicultural scenarios to the entire forest area. Overall, strategies classified as “mitigation” were favored, while strategies falling into the “adaptation”-category were limited to the youngest age-classes in the optimal solution. Carbon sequestration of the “Do-nothing” alternative was between 1.72 and 1.85 million tons higher than the other alternatives for the entire forest area while the differences between the adaptation and mitigation approaches were approximately 133,000 tons. Sensitivity analysis showed that a carbon price of 21 €/t is the threshold at which carbon sequestration is promoted, while an interest rate of above 2% would decrease the amount of carbon.

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