Scientific articles about forests and the climate

DeCicco2011: Biofuels and carbon management


Public policy supports biofuels for their benefits within the energy, transport and agricultural sector of environmental reasons. Biofuels are assumed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Here, DeCicco proposes a method using annual basis carbon (ABC) accounting to track the stocks and flows of carbon and other greenhouse gases throughout fuel supply chains. Thereby, the carbon dioxide emissions from fuels will be treated regardless of the origin of the fuel carbon (bio- or fossil). Read the article on SpringerLink here.




Pan2011: A large and persistent carbon sink in the world’s forests

Pan et. al (2011) estimate that the carbon sink in the world’s forests is large. Asian Russia is considered to have the largest carbon sink in the boreal region. There has also been a sink increase in European Russia since 1990 due to an increase in forest areas after agricultural abandonment, reduced harvesting, and changes of forest age structure to more productive forests including deciduous forests. The biomass sink increased in Northern Europe (Nordic countries) while there has been a large net loss of soil carbon stock due to a shift from forest to non-forest. The biomass carbon sink in managed forests in Canada was reduced by half since 1990, mostly due to the biomass loss from intensified wildfires and insect outbreaks (which is often a consequence due to planted monocultures and climate change). Read more in the Science article here.

Liao2010: Ecosystem carbon stock influenced by plantation practice

Uncertainties remain regarding the potential of tree plantations to sequester carbon. Here, Liao et al. (2010) synthesized 86 experimental studies to quantify the differences in ecosystem C pools between plantations and their corresponding adjacent primary and secondary forests (natural forests). The results showed a general pattern of decreasing carbon pools in plantations relative to forests, independently of biomes, geographic regions or other factors. Read the article here.

Meyer2013: A fertile peatland forest does not constitute a major greenhouse gas sink

Meyer and co-workers measured greenhouse gases methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) och carbon dioxide (CO2) in a forest growing on drained, fertile peatland. The forest was barely a carbon sink and a large emission of N2O was detected. The authors conclude that forests on such land do not become net carbon sinks under a rotation period, implying that reforestation on such lands not necessarily helps the climate. Therefore the local conditions should be taken into account before reforestation. Read the whole artikel in Biogeosciences.

AirClim2010: Boreal Forest and Climate Change – regional perspectives

Among the land ecosystems of the earth, boreal forest is likely to be especially affected by climate change, because of its sensitivity to warming and the high rates of projected warming in the Arctic region. This report covers some aspects of the interaction between climate change and boreal forest from a regional perspective, dealing separately with Scandinavia, Russia and North America (Canada). Read the report here.

Hudiburg2013: Effects of management strategies on regional forest carbon emissions in Oregon

The forestry’s long-term effects on forest carbon stocks, accumulation, and emissions need to be quantified. Here three different management scenarios (business-as-usual, thinning, and clear-cut) in Oregon, USA, are compared in a 90 year perspective. read the article in Environmental Science & Technology here.

Anderson2010: Biophysical considerations in forestry for climate protection

Forestry, including afforestation, reforestation, and forest management, has been proposed as a strategy to mitigate climate change. However, forestry influences albedo (the fraction of incident sunlight reflected back to space), surface roughness, and evapotranspiration, which affect the amount of energy transfer to the atmosphere. These biophysical feedbacks can result in local climate warming, which counteracts the effects of carbon sequestration on global mean temperature. This scientific article reviews published and emerging research, and suggests ways in which forestry projects can counteract the consequences associated with biophysical interactions. Read the article in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Demirbas2004: Combustion properties of biofuels

Demirbas summarize combustion properties of biofuels of different origin, in particular the content in molecules and chemical elements. The focus here is on carbon and it is estimated that between 42 and 54% of the total weight of biofuels is carbon. We use a value of 50% because Swedish government agencies use this as well. That means that 1 kg of biofuel contains roughly 500 g of carbon, which, when combusted gives rise to 1.83 kg of CO2. Read the whole article in Progress in Energy and Combustion Science.

Buonocore2013: Environmental cost of forestry activities

Buonocore and co-workers calculate how much energy is needed to extract energy from forests in Italy. A common way of measuring this is the Energy Return on Investment (EROI), the ratio between the energy extracted and the energy invested in the process. In order to generate wood chips an EROI of 22 is calculated, much higher than that for biodiesel (1.3) but lower than for hydropower (100). Read the whole article in Ecological Modelling.

Mouillot2013: Rare Species Support Vulnerable Ecosystem Functions

Mouillot and co-workers have investigated the correlation between ecosystem functions and rare species. Coral reef fish, alpine plants and tropical trees were studied. It has been suggested that generalist species can take over ecosystem function from specialist if these were to die out locally. In contrast, the authors find that vulnerable functions in ecosystems are “taken care of” predominantly by rare species, which means that is important to conserve such species for ecosystem resilience. Read the whole article in PLoS Biology.