Original Article

Climatic Change

, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 431-454

First online:

Changed thinning regimes may increase carbon stock under climate change: A case study from a Finnish boreal forest

  • Jordi Garcia-GonzaloAffiliated withFaculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu Email author 
  • , Heli PeltolaAffiliated withFaculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu
  • , Elemer Briceño-elizondoAffiliated withFaculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu
  • , Seppo KellomäkiAffiliated withFaculty of Forestry, University of Joensuu

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A physiological growth and yield model was applied for assessing the effects of forest management and climate change on the carbon (C) stocks in a forest management unit located in Finland. The aim was to outline an appropriate management strategy with regard to C stock in the ecosystem (C in trees and C in soil) and C in harvested timber. Simulations covered 100 years using three climate scenarios (current climate, ECHAM4 and HadCM2), five thinning regimes (based on current forest management recommendations for Finland) and one unthinned. Simulations were undertaken with ground true stand inventory data (1451 hectares) representing Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), Norway spruce (Picea abies) and silver birch (Betula pendula) stands. Regardless of the climate scenario, it was found that shifting from current practices to thinning regimes that allowed higher stocking of trees resulted in an increase of up to 11% in C in the forest ecosystem. It also increased the C in the timber yield by up to 14%. Compared to current climatic conditions, the mean increase over the thinning regimes in the total C stock in the forest ecosystem due to the climate change was a maximum of 1%; but the mean increase in total C in timber yield over thinning regimes was a maximum of 12%.


Adaptation Forest management Carbon stock Forest ecosystem Carbon in timber yield Boreal forests Climate change Modelling