Canadian Forest Service Publications

Modelling the influence of harvesting on Chinese boreal forest carbon dynamics. 2002. Jiang, H.; Apps, M.J.; Peng, C.; Zhang, Y.; Liu, J. Forest Ecology and Management 169: 65-82.

Year: 2002

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 23766

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

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Chinese boreal forests, geographically distributed in the Daxinganling Mountains of northeastern China, are the most southern part of the global boreal forest biome. The dominant species is larch (Larix gmelinii) with other major species including birch (Betula platyphylla), pine (Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica) and oak (Quercus mongolica). In this study, the terrestrial ecosystem process model CENTURY 4.0 was used to investigate the influence of different harvest disturbance regimes on the carbon stocks and fluxes of Chinese boreal forest ecosystem relative to a natural disturbance regime. Managed disturbance regime scenarios examined include harvesting intensity (no biomass removal (NBR), conventional harvesting (CH) and whole tree harvesting (WTH)) and rotation length (from 30 to 400 years). Field data were assembled from three forest regions (Xinlin, Tahe and Mohe), representing the northern, middle and southern parts of the Chinese boreal forest, respectively. The results presented in this study indicate that biomass, litter and soil carbon stocks (averaged over a rotation period) can be elevated significantly by suppression of all disturbances (NBR scenario) but are lowest under the most intense harvest scenarios (WTH). Harvest rotation length had a significant influence on carbon stocks (biomass, litter and soil carbon); the lowest simulated carbon stocks were found with the shortest rotations, and relatively higher stocks under longer rotations. Net primary production (NPP) decreased with increasing harvest intensity or decreasing rotation length. Net ecosystem production (NEP) decreased with decreasing harvest intensity or decreasing rotation length. NPP and NEP reach maximum values at rotation lengths of about 200 and 100 years, respectively. Observations and simulated data for ecosystem carbon stocks (biomass, litter and soil carbon) and carbon fluxes (NPP and NEP) in the southern region were slightly higher than those in the mid- and northern regions. The high productivity and biomass of the Chinese boreal forests relative to those of Canada, USA and Russia, are likely due to their southerly location: warm temperature and adequate precipitation create good conditions for forest development and growth. Nevertheless, the long history of forest use by human has resulted in much of the boreal forest in China landscape being in less than a primary state.