Forests are seen as a major plank in trying to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate climate change. According to the rules of the Kyoto Protocol and of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, forestry can generate a sink for greenhouse gases that can contribute to meeting the national commitments to emissions reductions. However, as Robert Jandl of the Austrian Federal Office and Research Center for Forests and his colleagues point out, such as wetlands and peatlands may even be a source of greenhouse gases when they are afforested. How forests are managed also has important effects on how much carbon is absorbed.
Writing in CAB Reviews, Jandl and colleagues described how as part of the IUFRO Task Force on Carbon Sequestration they analysed the effects of harvesting, rotation length, thinning, fertilizer application and tree-species selection on carbon sequestration. All of these have an impact on the forest productivity and consequently on carbon sequestration in the ecosystem. In terms of carbon sequestration and its accounting in national greenhouse-gas budgets, ecosystem stability is highly rated. “Forests that are robust against disturbances up to a certain degree of severity are better suited for political commitments than stands of maximum productivity with a high risk of damages,” say Jandl and his colleagues. “Optimized forest management with regard to soil C sequestration should aim to secure a high productivity of the forest on the input side, and avoid soil disturbances as much as possible on the output side.”
The paper "Carbon sequestration and forest management" by Robert Jandl, Lars Vesterdal, Mats Olsson, Oliver Bens, Franz Badeck and Joachim Rock appears in CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources, 2007, 2, No. 017.