UBC Undergraduate Research

Forest management and carbon storage in British Columbia Xu, Yuanyuan


Forest ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle. Through the process of photosynthesis, live trees are able to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and store it in biomass and soil, which helps to ease climate change. Besides above ground woody biomass, forest soil is another critical part of carbon storage; about 58% of the carbon in a forest stand is stored in soil. With disturbance (e.g., harvesting, fire, insects infection), forests release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, converting forests from a net carbon sink to a carbon source. Forest management activities can either increase or decrease the carbon storage of forests. In general, reducing the harvest level, extending rotation intervals and replacing clear cutting harvest systems will reduce carbon emissions during and post disturbance. Protecting forests from fire and insects infection also significantly contributes to carbon sequestration and help reducing carbon emissions. The outbreak of mountain pine beetle is the main factor that converted BC from a carbon sink to a carbon source since 2003. Thus, addressing effective solutions to control the mountain pine beetle population is critical for carbon recovery in BC province.

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