Canadian Forest Service Publications

Effects of harvesting intensity on carbon stocks in eastern Canadian red spruce (Picea rubens) forests: An exploratory analysis using the CBM-CFS3 simulation model. 2008. Taylor, A.R.; Wang, J.R.; Kurz, W.A. Forest Ecology and Management 255(10): 3632-3641.

Year: 2008

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28310

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2008.02.052

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Carbon stocks and stock changes in a chronosequence of 24 red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) dominated stands in Nova Scotia, Canada, were compared against predictions from the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3). Regression analysis of the observed versus simulated total ecosystem C stocks indicates the model's predictions accounted for 81.1% of the variation in the observed biomass data and for 63.2% of the variation in total ecosystem C data; however, the simultaneous F-test for bias was significant. Discrepancy between the observed and simulated total ecosystem C data was primarily caused by differences in dead organic matter C pool estimates, with the model consistently predicting higher soil C throughout stand development. Changes to model parameters were not warranted however, as the field data measured only a portion of the mineral soil profile represented in the model.

Clear-cut and partial-cut harvesting scenarios for red spruce stands were simulated to examine the impacts of clear-cut and partial-cut harvesting on C stocks. Total ecosystem C increased in the partial-cut stand throughout the 240-year simulation from 308.9 to 327.3 Mg C ha-1, while it decreased in the clear-cut stand to 305.8 Mg C ha-1. Enhanced C sequestration in the partial-cut stand was a consequence of the residual standing biomass providing a continuous source of litterfall and reducing decomposition rates of the forest floor. Choice of harvest system clearly affects forest ecosystem C stocks, but also affects the amount of C removed from forests to meet society's needs. Over the period of the simulation, partial cutting provided 115.6 Mg C ha-1 of merchantable timber, while clear-cutting provided 132.4 Mg C ha-1. Strategies aimed at using forest management to mitigate atmospheric C increases need to assess both the direct impacts on the forest ecosystem and the indirect impacts through product and energy substitution associated with the use and storage of harvested biomass.