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Analysis of the regional carbon balance of Pacific Northwest forests under changing climate, disturbance, and management for bioenergy

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dc.contributor.advisor Law, Beverly
dc.creator Hudiburg, Tara W.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-07-06T18:06:25Z
dc.date.available 2012-07-06T18:06:25Z
dc.date.copyright 2012-06-14
dc.date.issued 2012-06-14
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/30727
dc.description Graduation date: 2013 en_US
dc.description.abstract Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been steadily increasing from anthropogenic energy production, development and use. Carbon cycling in the terrestrial biosphere, particularly forest ecosystems, has an important role in regulating atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide. US West coast forest management policies are being developed to implement forest bioenergy production while reducing risk of catastrophic wildfire. Modeling and understanding the response of terrestrial ecosystems to changing environmental conditions associated with energy production and use are primary goals of global change science. Coupled carbon-nitrogen ecosystem process models identify and predict important factors that govern long term changes in terrestrial carbon stores or net ecosystem production (NEP). By quantifying and reducing uncertainty in model estimates using existing datasets, this research provides a solid scientific foundation for evaluating carbon dynamics under conditions of future climate change and land management practices at local and regional scales. Through the combined use of field observations, remote sensing data products, and the NCAR CESM/CLM4-CN coupled carbon-climate model, the objectives of this project were to 1) determine the interactive effects of changing environmental factors (i.e. increased CO₂, nitrogen deposition, warming) on net carbon uptake in temperate forest ecosystems and 2) predict the net carbon emissions of West Coast forests under future climate scenarios and implementation of bioenergy programs. West Coast forests were found to be a current strong carbon sink after accounting for removals from harvest and fire. Net biome production (NBP) was 26 ± 3 Tg C yr⁻¹, an amount equal to 18% of Washington, Oregon, and California fossil fuel emissions combined. Modeling of future conditions showed increased net primary production (NPP) because of climate and CO₂ fertilization, but was eventually limited by nitrogen availability, while heterotrophic respiration (R[subscript h]) continued to increase, leading to little change in net ecosystem production (NEP). After accounting for harvest removals, management strategies which increased harvest compared to business-as-usual (BAU) resulted in decreased NBP. Increased harvest activity for bioenergy did not reduce short- or long-term emissions to the atmosphere regardless of the treatment intensity or product use. By the end of the 21st century, the carbon accumulated in forest regrowth and wood product sinks combined with avoided emissions from fossil fuels and fire were insufficient to offset the carbon lost from harvest removals, decomposition of wood products, associated harvest/transport/manufacturing emissions, and bioenergy combustion emissions. The only scenario that reduced carbon emissions compared to BAU over the 90 year period was a 'No Harvest' scenario where NBP was significantly higher than BAU for most of the simulation period. Current and future changes to baseline conditions that weaken the forest carbon sink may result in no change to emissions in some forest types. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.relation Forest Explorer en_US
dc.subject bioenergy en_US
dc.subject forests en_US
dc.subject carbon en_US
dc.subject climate en_US
dc.subject policy en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Forest management -- Environmental aspects -- Northwest, Pacific en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Forests and forestry -- Climatic factors -- Northwest, Pacific en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Biomass energy -- Environmental aspects -- Northwest, Pacific en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Biomass energy -- Climatic factors -- Northwest, Pacific en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Carbon dioxide sinks -- Northwest, Pacific en_US
dc.title Analysis of the regional carbon balance of Pacific Northwest forests under changing climate, disturbance, and management for bioenergy en_US
dc.type Thesis/Dissertation en_US
dc.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. D.) in Forest Science en_US
dc.degree.level Doctoral en_US
dc.degree.discipline Forestry en_US
dc.degree.grantor Oregon State University en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Waring, Richard
dc.contributor.committeemember Thornton, Peter
dc.contributor.committeemember Bachelet, Dominique
dc.contributor.committeemember Shroyer, Emily
dc.description.peerreview no en_us

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