, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 279-294
Date: 03 Sep 2013

Effects of Management on Economic Profitability of Forest Biomass Production and Carbon Neutrality of Bioenergy Use in Norway Spruce Stands Under the Changing Climate

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Abstract

We analyzed the effects of management on the economic profitability of forest biomass production and carbon neutrality of bioenergy use in Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst) stands under the changing climate. We employed a forest ecosystem model and life cycle assessment tool. In particular, we studied the effects of thinning, nitrogen fertilization, and rotation length on: (1) the production of timber and energy biomass, and its economic profitability (net present value), (2) carbon stock in the forest ecosystem and carbon balance in forestry, and (3) carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the use of biomass in energy production. Results showed that the current Finnish baseline management with and without nitrogen fertilization resulted in the highest mean annual timber production and net present value (NPV) for long rotations (60 to 80 years), regardless of climate scenario. Mean annual production of energy biomass was enhanced by increasing stocking by 20–30 % compared to the baseline management, and/or use of nitrogen fertilization. Such management gave lower CO2 emissions per unit of energy compared to the baseline management, as the carbon stock in the forest ecosystem and the carbon balance in forestry increased. Overall, the carbon neutrality and net present value were, on average, the highest in the baseline management or with a 20 % increase in stocking, with nitrogen fertilization and 60- to 80-year rotation lengths, regardless of the climate applied. However, it was not possible to simultaneously maximize the NPV of forest biomass production and the carbon neutrality of bioenergy use.