Decadal Trends in Net Ecosystem Production and Net Ecosystem Carbon Balance for a Regional Socioecological System Public Deposited

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  • Carbon sequestration is increasingly recognized as an ecosystem service, and forest management has a large potential to alter regional carbon fluxes − notably by way of harvest removals and related impacts on net ecosystem production (NEP). In the Pacific Northwest region of the U.S., the implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) in 1993 established a regional socioecological system focused on forest management. The NWFP resulted in a large (82%) decrease in the rate of harvest removals on public forest land, thus significantly impacting the regional carbon balance. Here we use a combination of remote sensing and ecosystem modeling to examine the trends in NEP and Net Ecosystem Carbon Balance (NECB) in this region over the 1985 to 2007 period, with particular attention to land ownership since management now differs widely between public and private forestland. In the late 1980s, forestland in both ownership classes was subject to high rates of harvesting, and consequently the land was a carbon source (i.e. had a negative NECB). After the policy driven reduction in the harvest level, public forest land became a large carbon sink − driven in part by increasing NEP − whereas private forest lands were close to carbon neutral. In the 2003-2007 period, the trend towards carbon accumulation on public lands continued despite a moderate increase in the extent of wildfire. The NWFP was originally implemented in the context of biodiversity conservation, but its consequences in terms of carbon sequestration are also of societal interest. Ultimately, management within the NWFP socioecological system will have to consider trade-offs among these and other ecosystem services.
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  • Turner, D.P., et al. Decadal trends in net ecosystem production and net ecosystem carbon balance for a regional socioecological system. Forest Ecol. Manage. (2011), doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2011.06.034
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