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Application of the CBM-CFS3 model to estimate Italys forest carbon budget, 1995a 2020

Application of the CBM-CFS3 model to estimate Italys forest carbon budget, 1995a 2020

The estimation of past and future forest carbon (C) dynamics in European countries is a challenging task due to complex and varying silvicultural systems, including uneven-aged forest management, and incomplete inventory data time series. In this study, we tested the use of the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) in Italy, a country exemplifying most of these challenges. Our objective was to develop estimates of forest carbon budgets of the Forest Management area (including all forests existing in 1990) for the period 1995a 2009, and to simulate alternative scenarios of natural disturbance (fire) and harvest rates to 2020. A number of methodological challenges required modifications to the default model implementation. Based on National Forest Inventory (NFI) data, we (i) developed a historic library of yield curves derived from standing volume and age data, reflecting the effect of past silvicultural activities and natural disturbances, and a current library of yield curves derived from the current net annual increment; (ii) reconstructed the age structure for a period antecedent to the reference NFI year (2005), to compare the model results with data from other sources; and (iii) developed a novel approach for the simulation of uneven-aged forests. For the period 2000a 2009, the model estimated an average annual sink of a 23.7Mt CO2 yra 1 excluding fires in Italy's managed forests. Adding fires to the simulation reduced the sink to a 20.5Mt CO2 yra The projected sink (excluding all fires) for the year 2020 was a 23.4Mt CO2 yra 1 assuming average (2000a 2009) harvest rates. A 36% increase in harvest rates by 2020 reduced the sink to a 17.3Mt CO2 yra 1. By comparing the model results with NFI data and other independent studies, we demonstrate the utility of the CBM-CFS3 both for estimating the current forest sink in even-aged and more complex uneven-aged silvicultural systems in Italy, and for exploring the impact of different harvest and natural disturbances scenarios in managed forests. This study demonstrates the utility of the CBM-CFS3 to national-scale estimation of past and future greenhouse gas emissions and provides the foundation for the model's future implementation to other European countries.

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