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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Modelling forest carbon dynamics in two physiographic regions of Nepal Khatri Chhetri, Pramila

Abstract

Forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle because of their large and dynamic carbon stocks. Improved understanding of the processes that affect the net ecosystem exchange of carbon are needed to conserve and enhance carbon stocks. In this dissertation, I addressed the impacts of forest disturbances on the forest carbon dynamics under a status quo scenario and a variety of managerial and policy assumptions in two physiographic regions of Nepal (Terai and Churia). I used a carbon dynamic modelling approach to: i) estimate the forest carbon stocks and changes; ii) assess the impacts of different forest management scenarios on forest carbon dynamics; and iii) examine the impact on carbon stocks and GHG emissions of different harvest rates and distributions of harvested wood products. I initially modelled the impact of forest disturbances on carbon stocks for 2010 to 2017 and then projected this forward to 2030 under a “business-as-usual” scenario. The carbon stocks were impacted more by human encroachment in Terai and by fire, landslides, and harvesting in Churia. However, the forest remained a carbon sink in both regions. I then explored the potential impact of management interventions on the carbon dynamics of forest of Terai region, where forests are experiencing the most population pressure. I used a multivariate imputation approach to provide a spatially explicit, wall-to-wall map of attributes to forecast alternative forest management scenarios. A scenario involving the highest investments and the lowest harvest level resulted in the most carbon sequestration and a scenario with higher disturbance levels reflecting the possible impacts of population pressure and climate change resulted in the least carbon sequestration. Lastly, I explored the combined impact of different harvest levels and harvested wood product mixtures (fuel wood vs. sawn wood products) in Terai on the overall carbon storage. Increasing the proportion of sawn wood products relative to fuel wood increased the carbon stock, allowing the possibility of higher harvest levels with a net increase in carbon storage compared to the status quo. Such an approach could convey economic benefits while retaining or enhancing the present rate of carbon sequestration.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International