Quantifying climate change effects on future forest biomass availability using yield tables improved by mechanistic scaling

Ilie Storms, Sanne Verdonck, Bruno Verbist, Patrick Willems, Pieterjan De Geest, Martin Gutsch, Nathalie Cools, Bruno De Vos, Mats Mahnken, Joachim Lopez, Jos Van Orshoven, Bart Muys

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review

Abstract

Forests and wood products play a major role in climate change mitigation strategies and the transition from a fossil based economy to a circular bioeconomy. Accurate estimates of future forest productivity are crucial to predict the carbon sequestration and wood provision potential of forests. Since long, forest managers have used empirical yield tables as a cost-effective and reliable way to predict forest growth. However, recent climate change-induced growth shifts raised doubts about the long-term validity of these yield tables. In this study, we propose a methodology to improve available yield tables of 11 tree species in the Netherlands and Flanders, Belgium. The methodology uses scaling functions derived from climate-sensitive process-based modelling (PBM) that reflect state-of-the-art projections of future growth trends. Combining PBM and stand information from the empirical yield tables for the region of Flanders, we found that for the period 1987-2016 stand productivity has on average increased by 13961-1990. Furthermore, simulations indicate that this positive growth trend is most likely to persist in the coming decades, for all considered species, climate or site conditions. Nonetheless, results showed that local site variability is equally important to consider as the in-or exclusion of the CO2 fertilization effect or different climate projections, when assessing the magnitude of forests' response to climate change.Our projections suggest that incorporating these climate change-related productivity changes lead to a 72050. The proposed methodology and resulting estimates of climate-sensitive projections of future woody biomass stocks will facilitate the
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the total environment
Volume833
ISSN0048-9697
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10-Aug-2022

Thematic List 2020

  • Forest

Thematic list

  • Management

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