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Title: Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests

Abstract

Strategies to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions through forestry activities have been proposed, but ecosystem process-based integration of climate change, enhanced CO 2, disturbance from fire, and management actions at regional scales are extremely limited. In this work, we examine the relative merits of afforestation, reforestation, management changes, and harvest residue bioenergy use in the Pacific Northwest. This region represents some of the highest carbon density forests in the world, which can store carbon in trees for 800 y or more. Oregon’s net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) was equivalent to 72% of total emissions in 2011–2015. By 2100, simulations show increased net carbon uptake with little change in wildfires. Reforestation, afforestation, lengthened harvest cycles on private lands, and restricting harvest on public lands increase NECB 56% by 2100, with the latter two actions contributing the most. Resultant cobenefits included water availability and biodiversity, primarily from increased forest area, age, and species diversity. Converting 127,000 ha of irrigated grass crops to native forests could decrease irrigation demand by 233 billion m 3∙y –1. Utilizing harvest residues for bioenergy production instead of leaving them in forests to decompose increased emissions in the short-term (50 y), reducing mitigation effectiveness. Increasing forest carbon on publicmore » lands reduced emissions compared with storage in wood products because the residence time is more than twice that of wood products. Thus, temperate forests with high carbon densities and lower vulnerability to mortality have substantial potential for reducing forest sector emissions. Our analysis framework provides a template for assessments in other temperate regions.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [3];  [2];  [1];  [1]
  1. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
  2. Univ. of Idaho, Moscow, ID (United States)
  3. EcoSpatial Services L.L.C., Flagstaff, AZ (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1547346
Grant/Contract Number:  
SC0012194
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 115; Journal Issue: 14; Journal ID: ISSN 0027-8424
Publisher:
National Academy of Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; forests; carbon balance; greenhouse gas emissions; climate mitigation

Citation Formats

Law, Beverly E., Hudiburg, Tara W., Berner, Logan T., Kent, Jeffrey J., Buotte, Polly C., and Harmon, Mark E. Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1073/pnas.1720064115.
Law, Beverly E., Hudiburg, Tara W., Berner, Logan T., Kent, Jeffrey J., Buotte, Polly C., & Harmon, Mark E. Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests. United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1720064115.
Law, Beverly E., Hudiburg, Tara W., Berner, Logan T., Kent, Jeffrey J., Buotte, Polly C., and Harmon, Mark E. Mon . "Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests". United States. doi:10.1073/pnas.1720064115. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1547346.
@article{osti_1547346,
title = {Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests},
author = {Law, Beverly E. and Hudiburg, Tara W. and Berner, Logan T. and Kent, Jeffrey J. and Buotte, Polly C. and Harmon, Mark E.},
abstractNote = {Strategies to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions through forestry activities have been proposed, but ecosystem process-based integration of climate change, enhanced CO2, disturbance from fire, and management actions at regional scales are extremely limited. In this work, we examine the relative merits of afforestation, reforestation, management changes, and harvest residue bioenergy use in the Pacific Northwest. This region represents some of the highest carbon density forests in the world, which can store carbon in trees for 800 y or more. Oregon’s net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) was equivalent to 72% of total emissions in 2011–2015. By 2100, simulations show increased net carbon uptake with little change in wildfires. Reforestation, afforestation, lengthened harvest cycles on private lands, and restricting harvest on public lands increase NECB 56% by 2100, with the latter two actions contributing the most. Resultant cobenefits included water availability and biodiversity, primarily from increased forest area, age, and species diversity. Converting 127,000 ha of irrigated grass crops to native forests could decrease irrigation demand by 233 billion m3∙y–1. Utilizing harvest residues for bioenergy production instead of leaving them in forests to decompose increased emissions in the short-term (50 y), reducing mitigation effectiveness. Increasing forest carbon on public lands reduced emissions compared with storage in wood products because the residence time is more than twice that of wood products. Thus, temperate forests with high carbon densities and lower vulnerability to mortality have substantial potential for reducing forest sector emissions. Our analysis framework provides a template for assessments in other temperate regions.},
doi = {10.1073/pnas.1720064115},
journal = {Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America},
number = 14,
volume = 115,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {3}
}

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