How does intensive forest management affect global carbon storage?

 

Trees are harvested from a forest plantationA growing world population demands more wood and fiber, much of which is harvested from intensively managed forests. In these forests, tree growth as well as post-harvest land cover changes can be easy to see, but an invisible part of the management process has captured the attention of scientists and university collaborators with the Eastern Threat Center. Following a study published in the November 2015 issue of Forest Ecology and Management, researchers concluded that high forest productivity in managed forests often comes at the expense of carbon storage in soils. After reviewing current global datasets and comparing characteristics of managed and unmanaged stands, “We discovered that carbon is allocated differently between plant parts in managed forests, with relatively greater aboveground productivity and lower belowground carbon storage,” says Asko Noormets, a North Carolina State University scientist working with the Eastern Threat Center and the study’s lead author. “The greater frequency of harvests and physical disturbance of soils in managed forests results in higher soil respiration and carbon loss.” Read more in CompassLive...

Pictured: Trees are harvested from a forest plantation. Photo from U.S. Forest Service Forest Operations Research Archive, Bugwood.org.

 

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