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Journal Article

Forest management and carbon sequestration in wood products


Mund,  M.
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. E.-D. Schulze, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;


Schulze,  E.-D.
Department Biogeochemical Processes, Prof. E.-D. Schulze, Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Profft, I., Mund, M., Weber, G. E., Weller, E., & Schulze, E.-D. (2009). Forest management and carbon sequestration in wood products. European Journal of Forest Research, 128(4), 399-413. doi:10.1007/s10342-009-0283-5.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000E-D8A8-8
Wood products are considered to contribute to the mitigation of carbon dioxide emissions. A critical gap in the life cycle of wood products is to transfer the raw timber from the forest to the processing wood industry and, thus, the primary wood products. Therefore, often rough estimates are used for this step to obtain total forestry carbon balances. The objectives of this study were (1) to examine the fate of timber harvested in Thuringian state forests (central Germany), representing a large, intensively managed forested region, and (2) to quantify carbon stocks and the lifetime of primary wood products made from this timber. The analyses were based on the amount and assortments of actually sold timber, and production parameters of the companies that bought and processed this timber. In addition, for coniferous stands of a selected Thuringian forest district, we calculated potential effects of management, as expressed by different thinning regimes on wood products and their lifetimes. Total annual timber sale of soft- and hardwoods from Thuringian state forests (195,000 ha) increased from about 136,893 t C (similar to 0.7 t C ha(-1) year(-1)) in 1996 to 280,194 t C (similar to 1.4 t C ha(-1) year(-1)) in 2005. About 47% of annual total timber harvest went into short-lived wood products with a mean residence time (MRT) < 25 years. Thirty-one per cent of the total harvest went into wood products with an MRT of 25-43 years, and only 22% was used as construction wood and glued wood, products with the longest MRT (50 years). The average MRT of carbon in harvested wood products was 20 years. Thinning from above throughout the rotation of spruce forests would lead to an average MRT in harvested wood products of about 23 years, thinning from below of about 18 years. A comparison of our calculations with estimates that resulted from the products module of the CO2FIX model (Nabuurs et al. 2001) demonstrates the influence of regional differences in forest management and wood processing industry on the lifetime of harvested wood products. To our knowledge, the present study provides for the first time real carbon inputs of a defined forest management unit to the wood product sector by linking data on raw timber production, timber sales and wood processing. With this new approach and using this data, it should be possible to substantially improve the net-carbon balance of the entire forestry sector. [References: 67]