Canadian Forest Service Publications

Quantifying the impacts of human activities on reported greenhouse gas emissions and removals in Canada’s managed forest: conceptual framework and implementation. 2018. Kurz, W.A. , Hayne, S., Fellows, M., MacDonald, J.D., Metsaranta,J.M., Hafer, M., Blain, D. Can. J. For. Res. 48(10): 1227-1240.

Year: 2018

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39352

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2018-0176

† This site may require a fee.

Abstract

The land sector is expected to contribute to strategies aimed at mitigating global temperature increases and this necessitates an improved understanding of human actions on land sector emissions and removals. Current Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change guidelines for the land sector of national greenhouse gas inventories are based on the assumption that all emissions and removals in managed lands are caused by humans. In Canada, however, natural disturbances in managed forests can result in large and highly variable emissions and subsequent removals that mask the impacts of management activities. Here we describe methods to isolate and quantify the impacts of management on trends in estimated anthropogenic emissions and removals in Canada’s managed forest by partitioning fluxes from two land components: fluxes from lands dominated by natural disturbance effects and fluxes from the remaining managed forests. The sum of the flux estimates of the two land components is equal to net emissions and removals in managed forest lands. Separating highly variable natural disturbance fluxes from the remaining fluxes in managed forest lands increases the understanding of how human activities impact flux trends. Comparing these anthropogenic emissions and removals with those from natural disturbances quantifies their relative contributions to global atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Plain Language Summary

The land sector is expected to contribute to strategies aimed at mitigating global temperature increases. Current international guidelines for the reporting of the land sector contributions to national greenhouse gas inventories are based on the assumption that all emissions and removals in managed lands are caused by humans. In Canada’s managed forests natural disturbances such as wildfires and insects can result in large and highly variable annual emissions and subsequent removals. This large variability masks the impacts on emissions of management activities. This paper describes methods to isolate and quantify the impacts of forest management on trends in estimated human-caused emissions and removals in Canada’s managed forest. The new approach disaggregates fluxes from lands dominated by natural disturbance effects and fluxes from the remaining managed forests. The sum of the two flux estimates is equal to net emissions and removals in managed forest lands. Separating highly variable natural disturbance fluxes from the remaining fluxes in managed forest lands increases the understanding of how human activities impact trends in greenhouse gas fluxes and improves Canada’s ability to quantify and report the effects climate change mitigation actions in the forest sector.

Date modified: