Carbon balance for different management practices for fast growing tree species planted on former pastureland in southern Europe: a case study using the CO2 Fix model

C. Pérez-Crusado, G.M.J. Mohren, A. Merino, R. Rodríguez-Soalleiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Although it is known that forestry mitigates carbon emissions to some degree, there is still a need to investigate the extent to which changes in forest management regimes affect the carbon cycle. In a climate-change scenario, forest management schemes must be optimized to maximize product supply and minimize environmental impacts. It is difficult to predict the mitigating effects of different silvicultural regimes because of differences in the growth characteristics of each species, destination of products, and industrial efficiencies. The objective of the present study was to use a modeling approach to evaluate the effects of different management regimes for fast growing species in southern temperate Europe in relation to mitigating climate change. A comprehensive study was carried out considering the C sink effect in biomass, soil and wood products, the substitutive effect of bioenergy, and particular conditions of the forest industry in southern Europe. The mechanistic CO2Fix model was parameterized for three species used in fast growing plantations in southern Europe: Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus nitens, and Pinus radiata. Data from 120 plots covering the complete age range observed for each species were used to calculate changes in C stocks in aboveground biomass and organic and mineral soil and to validate the parameterized model for these conditions. Additional information about the efficiency of forest industry processes in the region was also considered. A strong bias in soil organic carbon estimation was observed and attributed to overestimations in the decomposition rates of soil compartments. Slight bias was also observed in the carbon biomass estimation when forest-specific yield models were used to simulate afforestation over former pastureland. As regards the model sensitivity, the Yasso model was strongly robust to turnover of leaves, roots, and branches. The chip wood production alternative yielded higher carbon stock in biomass and products, as well as in bioenergy substitution effect, than the sawn wood production alternative. Nevertheless, the sawn wood alternative was the most effective as regards the C stock in the soil. Site index had an important effect for all species, alternatives, and compartments, and mitigating effects increased with site index. Harvesting of clearcutting and thinning slash for bioenergy use led to a slight decrease in the soil carbon equilibrium but significantly increased the mitigation effect through bioenergy use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1695-1716
JournalEuropean Journal of Forest Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • north-western spain
  • soil organic-carbon
  • land-use change
  • wood-bark ash
  • forest management
  • eucalyptus-globulus
  • radiata pine
  • aboveground biomass
  • empirical-models
  • sequestration

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Carbon balance for different management practices for fast growing tree species planted on former pastureland in southern Europe: a case study using the CO2 Fix model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this