The majority of boreal forests in EU are managed for wood production, and forestry plays an important economic role many countries. Forests and forest products are crucial in addressing the climate change by avoiding CO2 emissions not only through bioenergy, but also by the exchange of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from forests and forestry operations, and by maintaining the effective carbon sinks and stocks for removing CO2 and keeping it away from the atmosphere. However, there is a clear interest and a pressing need for including a detailed representation of forest management in coupled land-climate models for scenario analyses and land sink accounting purposes. While the C balance of undrained boreal forests is reasonably well understood, other forest types and the effects of forest management, especially those originating from aerosols, other GHGs and albedo changes are potentially large with large uncertainties. Adapting forest management to mitigate climate change is a multidisciplinary problem, and responds to an urgent societal need for advising the forest and climate policies with solid scientific justifications.
The project aims to quantify the impacts of forest management at 3 boreal forest sites (one on mineral soil and two on organic soils) on climate relevant feedback processes. By manipulating (selective thinning), we change the ratio between biogeochemical and biophysical impacts at the stand level. We measure changes in GHG exchange, energy balance, tree physiology, soil processes, optical indices, stand structure and productivity, and VOC production linked to aerosols and new particle formation. Further, we analyze the climate impacts of harvests using up-to-date models on forest growth, radiative forcing, cloud formation, and ultimately, aim at policy-relevant advice on management-climate feedbacks. The consortium is multi-disciplinary, with long experience on GHG measurements and accounting, tree physiology, forest growth models, forest-atmosphere interactions, aerosol measurements, climate models and addressing these in forest and climate policy context. A unique additional value is the proof-of-concept science case where four ESFRI infrastructures are working together with joint aims, shared methodologies, data flows and expertise in addressing a societally relevant question on forest management impacts on climate.