The process based model SMART–SUMO–WATBAL was applied to 166 intensive monitoring forest plots of mid- and high-latitude Europe to evaluate the effects of expected future changes in carbon dioxide concentration, temperature, precipitation and nitrogen deposition on forest growth (net annual increment). These results were used in the large-scale forest scenario model EFISCEN (European Forest Information SCENario model) to upscale impacts of environmental change and to combine these results with adapted forest management. Because of the few plots available, Mediterranean countries were excluded from analyses. Results are presented for 109 million ha in 23 European countries.
We predict significant impacts of environmental change on mid- and high-latitude European forests. Under a no climate change scenario, an increased fellings scenario assumed wood demand to increase from 3.8 to 5.3 m3 ha-1 yr-1 between 2000 and 2010, maintaining growing stock volumes at around 170 m3 ha-1. In 2100 it was thus possible to cut 50% more under intensive management than current felling level. Climate change increased this possibility to 90% (from 3.8 to 7.2 m3 ha-1 yr-1). The growing stock in 2100 increased to 279 m3 ha-1 under base felling level and no environmental change, but under environmental change, the rise was up to 381 m3 ha-1 in 2100. The average carbon stock of whole tree biomass was 72 Mg ha-1 carbon in 2005 and it increased to a predicted 104 Mg ha-1 carbon in 2100 under no environmental change and base fellings. Environmental change enhanced the build up of carbon stocks to up to 143 Mg ha-1 carbon in 2100. An average 35–40% higher increment is thus foreseen for 2100 compared to a no environmental change scenario (both under base fellings). The largest relative growth rate change is foreseen for the Nordic countries, with up to 75% growth increase. The impact of environmental change on C stock change in trees is as significant as the impact of forest management.