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Forest biomass production potential and its implications for carbon balance
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Engineering and Sustainable Development.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3208-7003
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

An integrated methodological approach is used to analyse the forest biomass production potential in the Middle Norrland region of Sweden, and its use to reduce carbon emissions. Forest biomass production, forest management, biomass harvest, and forest product use are analyzed in a system perspective considering the entire resource flow chains. The system-wide carbon flows as well as avoided carbon emissions are quantified for the activities of forest biomass production, harvest, use and substitution of non-biomass materials and fossil fuels. Five different forest management scenarios and two biomass use alternatives are developed and used in the analysis. The analysis is divided into four main parts. In the first part, plant biomass production is estimated using principles of plant-physiological processes and soil-water dynamics. Biomass production is compared under different forest management scenarios, some of which include the expected effects of climate change based on IPCC B2 scenario. In the second part, forest harvest potentials are estimated based on plant biomass production data and Swedish national forest inventory data for different forest management alternatives. In the third part, soil carbon stock changes are estimated for different litter input levels from standing biomass and forest residues left in the forest during the harvest operations. The fourth and final part is the estimation of carbon emissions reduction due to the substitution of fossil fuels and carbon-intensive materials by the use of forest biomass. Forest operational activities such as regeneration, pre-commercial thinning, commercial thinning, fertilisation, and harvesting are included in the analysis. The total carbon balance is calculated by summing up the carbon stock changes in the standing biomass, carbon stock changes in the forest soil, forest product carbon stock changes, and the substitution effects. Fossil carbon emissions from forest operational activities are calculated and deducted to calculate the net total carbon balance.The results show that the climate change effect most likely will increase forest biomass production over the next 100 years compared to a situation with unchanged climate. As an effect of increased biomass production, there is a possibility to increase the harvest of usable biomass. The annual forest biomass production and harvest can be further increased by the application of more intensive forestry practices compared to practices currently in use. Deciduous trees are likely to increase their biomass production because of climate change effects whereas spruce biomass is likely to increase because of implementation of intensive forestry practices.IIIntensive forestry practices such as application of pre-commercial thinning, balanced fertilisation, and introduction of fast growing species to replace slow growing pine stands can increase the standing biomass carbon stock. Soil carbon stock increase is higher when only stem-wood biomass is used, compared to whole-tree biomass use. The increase of carbon stocks in wood products depends largely on the magnitude of harvest and the use of the harvested biomass. The biomass substitution benefits are the largest contributor to the total carbon balance, particularly for the intensive forest management scenario when whole-tree biomass is used and substitutes coal fuel and non-wood construction materials. The results show that the climate change effect could provide up to 104 Tg carbon emissions reduction, and intensive forestry practices may further provide up to 132 Tg carbon emissions reduction during the next 100 years in the area studied.This study shows that production forestry can be managed to balance biomass growth and harvest in the long run, so that the forest will maintain its capacity to increase standing biomass carbon and provide continuous harvests. Increasing standing biomass in Swedish managed forest may not be the most effective strategy to mitigate climate change. Storing wood products in building materials delays the carbon emissions into the atmosphere, and the wood material in the buildings can be used as biofuel at the end of a building life-cycle to substitute fossil fuels.These findings show that the forest biomass production potential in the studied area increases with climate change and with the application of intensive forestry practices. Intensive forestry practice has the potential for continuous increased biomass production which, if used to substitute fossil fuels and materials, could contribute significantly to net carbon emissions reductions and help mitigate climate change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Östersund: Mid Sweden University , 2012. , 50 p.
Series
Mid Sweden University licentiate thesis, ISSN 1652-8948 ; 87
National Category
Forest Science Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-17281ISBN: 978-91-87103-27-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-17281DiVA: diva2:563377
Available from: 2012-10-30 Created: 2012-10-30 Last updated: 2013-12-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Effects of climate change on biomass production and substitution in north-central Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of climate change on biomass production and substitution in north-central Sweden
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2011 (English)In: Biomass and Bioenergy, ISSN 0961-9534, E-ISSN 1873-2909, Vol. 35, no 10, 4340-4355 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this study we estimate the effects of climate change on forest production in north-central Sweden, as well as the potential climate changemitigation feedback effects of the resulting increased carbon stock and forest product use. Our results show that an average regional temperature rise of 4 °C over the next 100 years may increase annual forest production by 33% and potential annual harvest by 32%, compared to a reference case without climate change. This increased biomass production, if used to substitute fossil fuels and energy-intensive materials, can result in a significant net carbon emission reduction. We find that carbon stock in forest biomass, forest soils, and wood products also increase, but this effect is less significant than biomass substitution. A total net reduction in carbon emissions of up to 104 Tg of carbon can occur over 100 years, depending on harvest level and reference fossil fuel. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2011
Keyword
Biomass substitution; Climate change; Climate feedback; Forest production; Sweden
National Category
Environmental Sciences Forest Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-14484 (URN)10.1016/j.biombioe.2011.08.005 (DOI)000297035100029 ()2-s2.0-80053592930 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-09-14 Created: 2011-09-14 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
2. Potential effects of intensive forestry on biomass production and total carbon balance in north-central Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Potential effects of intensive forestry on biomass production and total carbon balance in north-central Sweden
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2012 (English)In: Environmental Science and Policy, ISSN 1462-9011, E-ISSN 1873-6416, Vol. 15, no 1, 106-124 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We quantify the potential effects of intensive forest management activities on forest production in north-central Sweden over the next 100 years, and calculate the potential climate change mitigation feedback effect due to the resulting increased carbon stock and increased use of forest products. We analyze and compare four different forest management scenarios (Reference, Environment, Production, and Maximum), all of which include the expected effects of climate change based on SRES B2 scenario. Forest management practices are intensified in Production scenario, and further intensified in Maximum scenario. Four different models, BIOMASS, HUGIN, Q-model, and Substitution model, were used to quantify net primary production, forest production and harvest potential, soil carbon, and biomass substitution of fossil fuels and non-wood materials, respectively. After integrating the models, our results show that intensive forestry may increase forest production by up to 26% and annual harvest by up to 19%, compared to the Reference scenario. The greatest single effect on the carbon balance is from using increased biomass production to substitute for fossil fuels and energy intensive materials. Carbon stocks in living tree biomass, forest soil and wood products also increase. In total, a net carbon emission reduction of up to 132 Tg (for Maximum scenario) is possible during the next 100 years due to intensive forest management in two Swedish counties, Jämtland and Västernorrland. 

Keyword
Carbon emission reduction; Climate change; Forest biomass; Forest management; Wood substitution
National Category
Environmental Sciences Forest Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-14713 (URN)10.1016/j.envsci.2011.09.005 (DOI)000301326000011 ()2-s2.0-83255187159 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2011-11-11 Created: 2011-11-11 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
3. Climate change mitigation through increased biomass production and substitution: A case study in north-central Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Climate change mitigation through increased biomass production and substitution: A case study in north-central Sweden
2011 (English)In: World Renewable Energy Congress 2011, Linköping, Sweden, May 8-11, 2011Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
National Category
Other Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-13285 (URN)
Conference
World Renewable Energy Congress 2011, Linköping, Sweden, May 8-11
Available from: 2011-02-18 Created: 2011-02-18 Last updated: 2013-12-06Bibliographically approved

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