Uncertainty analysis of climate change mitigation options in the forestry sector using a generic carbon budget model

Bottcher H, Freibauer A, Obersteiner M, & Schulze E-D (2008). Uncertainty analysis of climate change mitigation options in the forestry sector using a generic carbon budget model. Ecological Modelling 213 (1): 45-62. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2007.11.007.

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Abstract

Industrialized countries agreed on a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Many countries elected forest management activities and the resulting net balance of carbon emissions and removals of non-CO2 greenhouse gases by forest management in their climate change mitigation measures. In this paper a generic dynamic forestry model (FORMICA) is presented. It has an empirical basis. Several modules trace C pools relevant for the Kyoto Protocol and beyond: biomass, litter, deadwood and soil, and harvested wood products. The model also accounts for the substitution of fossil fuels by wood products and bioenergy.

FORMICA was used to first study the model sensitivity and uncertainty based on data from Thuringia, a federal state of Germany, to determine the major sources of uncertainty in carbon accounting at different levels of carbon pool aggregation (biomass, ecosystem, forestry sector and enhanced forestry sector including the accumulated substitution effect). Rotation length and maximum increment contributed most to uncertainty in biomass. The influence of the latter did not diminish with higher level of pool aggregation. Uncertainty in the enhanced forestry sector was to a smaller degree controlled by product and substitution related parameters. Relative uncertainty decreased with the level of aggregation and comprehensiveness of the carbon budget.

In a second step the model estimated the sink potential of the Thuringian forestry sector. The projected average biomass sink for the period of 2003-2043 of 0.6 t C ha-1 year-1 could be increased by 50% by broadening the perspective to the entire forestry sector, including substitution effects. A simulation of forest conservation on 20% of the forest area increased C fixation. However, even in the biomass C pool the expected C stock changes did not exceed the estimated uncertainty of 40%. A higher level of aggregation (i.e. the inclusion of soil and litter, product pool and substitution effects) decreases relative uncertainty but also diminishes differences between different management options. The analysis demonstrates that the choice of management mitigation options under an accounting scheme should include the impacts on forest products and of substitution effects.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Forest management; Regional modeling; Carbon; Climate change mitigation; Uncertainty analysis; Thuringia
Research Programs: Forestry (FOR)
Bibliographic Reference: Ecological Modelling; 213(1):45-62 (24 April 2008)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:41
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 10:02
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/8550

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