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WP 1.2a: Forest dynamics under climate change

Plantation management

In Europe, large-scale afforestation with coniferous species was carried out, for example, after the two world wars respectively. The conversion of those forest stands into mixed stands has been in full operation for several years. The reasons for that are of not only ecological, but also economic nature. Above all, from an economic point of view, the possibility that contingency risks of particular tree species can be reduced by mixing with other species plays a big role.  

In the meantime, the concept developed for pure forests, i.e. work with monocultures is world widely reconsidered, and the introduction of native admixed tree species is proposed. Therefore, a compromise must be found between forest management requirements and aspects of biodiversity. Usually, a coniferous or exotic species, mostly being highly productive, is manifestly preferred for the former, whereas native, less productive species are suggested as admixed species for the latter.  

Usually, appropriate experience in the introduction of species is lacked during pure stand conversion. Even in the places where such experience is available, for example, Europe, it is controversially discussed how much input should be given and to what extent natural processes can be used for the establishment of mixed stands.

The scientific questions to be addressed in this context invole the following tasks:

  • Analyse the adaptability of plantation forests to climate change
  • Evaluate the effects of converting plantations to close-to-nature and carbon-rich forests
  • Model and evaluate development scenarios

WP 1.2b: Integrated Management Models, Risk assessment, Adaption and trade-offs

China is obliged to fulfill its commitments in the international Climate Policy Arena (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFCCC) in line with national regulations (12th Five year plan, FYP) to reduce the CO2-intensity of its national economy by approx. 40% from 2005 to 2020. One approach to achieve this is the increase of wood and carbon stocks in forests aiming at the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in land-use. Sustainable Forest Management (SFM), not only increases carbon stocks, but also contributes to increased stand stability, higher timber value and enhanced biodiversity. SFM will also lower the risk that wind, pest and snow damage will contribute to release of stored carbon from forests (non-permanence). However, regulatory policies to enable large-scale implementation of SFM require some certainty over decision making processes given the long-term impacts of decisions in forest management . Hence, an integrated simulation framework is needed to better understand forest growth dynamics and its impact on carbon accumulation, forest carbon footprints (harvested wood products, HWP) and trade-offs and synergies between different management goals. In addition, interactions between different forest management regimes and risks (extreme meteorological events and human induced risks) need to be assessed which are likely to change with stand age, stand structure, species compositions as well as site conditions.
This work package will test and integrate existing process based models to assess forest growth and carbon accumulation dynamics of the different silvicultural management strategies proposed in work package 2a with forest product based accounting models and analyze abiotic, biotic and economic risks. The proposed simulation framework will enable scientists, forest professionals and policy makers to analyze synergies and trade-offs between different multiple production goals and related carbon dynamics in the sub-tropical forests of China.
The following tasks will be carried out:

  • Testing of existing process-based forest growth models for their appropriateness in sub-tropical China and selection and calibration of the most suitable one for the dominant species (e.g. Cunnighamia lanceolata, Pinus massionana). Further, analyzing the lifecycles of timber and wood products to investigate the influence of forest management, timber extraction and transformation processes of timber into primary wood products on the carbon balance.
  • Development of an integrated production risk assessment approach considering production and management risks for the most common sub-tropical plantation types.
  • The different models (forest growth model, forest product based accounting model and risk assessment model) will be integrated into a module-based simulation framework addressing C-sequestration as one of multiple objectives of multipurpose forest management.