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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Simulation of forest‐based carbon balances for Germany: a contribution to the‘carbon debt’ debate

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The aim of this paper is to estimate the future carbon balance of wood use in Germany combining a national forest inventory data‐driven forest growth model with information about German harvested wood products markets and taking into account material and energy substitution effects. In a scenario analysis, we assess impacts of different forest management options, change of market share of harvested wood products as well as changes of the national energy mix. Additionally, the model settings and assumptions that predominantly determine the results are identified and discussed. The simulation results show that only a radical change of forest management in Germany would cause net carbon emissions. The continuation of current forest management or a higher share of high yield tree species as well as a change of market shares of wood and wood products would result in a net carbon sequestration in German forest and harvested wood products carbon pools. Considering substitution effects, even the net carbon emissions of a radically changed forest management would be over compensated and the carbon balance of all other scenarios would become even more positive. Looking at the most decisive factors regarding our simulation results, the initial treatment of the forest carbon pool, the starting year for the simulations and the present forest structure are most crucial for further accumulated net carbon pool changes. WIREs Energy Environ 2018, 7:e260. doi: 10.1002/wene.260

This article is categorized under:

  • Bioenergy > Climate and Environment
  • Energy and Climate > Climate and Environment
  • Energy and Development > Climate and Environment
Cumulated forest and harvested wood product (HWP) C‐pool changes of Scenario 1 ‘Change of timber utilization.’
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Cumulated forest and harvested wood product (HWP) C‐pool changes of the business as usual (BAU) case and Scenario 3 ‘Changed energy mix’ (Note: since parameter changes do not affect forest and HWP C‐pools, Scenario 3 is not different from the BAU case).
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Accumulated net carbon balance of the business as usual case (BAU) case and Scenarios 1–5 including substitution effect.
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Cumulated net C‐pool changes of the business as usual (BAU) case and Scenarios 1–5.
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Cumulated forest and harvested wood product (HWP) C‐pool changes of Scenario 5 ‘Maximum mean annual increment.’
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Cumulated forest and harvested wood product (HWP) C‐pool changes of Scenario 4 ‘Increased use of residues.’
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Cumulated forest and harvested wood product (HWP) C‐pool changes of Scenario 2 ‘High yield tree species.’
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