Greenhouse gas mitigation potential of forest rehabilitation after severe disturbance events in British Columbia: Application of a customized, spatially explicit carbon budget model

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The rehabilitation of damaged forest stands in British Columbia (BC) will alter greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a rate and magnitude that has not yet been quantified. In this study, I customize the Generic Carbon Budget Model for the Canadian Forest Sector to model rehabilitation activities consisting of converting deadwood to harvested wood products and enhancing growth by replanting. I model a region of interior BC that experienced intense wildfires in 2017 and 2018 and extensive mountain pine beetle (MPB) infestation in the mid-2000s. The results indicate that when 312,000 hectares of recently burned forest are targeted, net cumulative GHG emissions relative to the baseline are greater in 2030, 2.6 TgCO2e lower by 2050 or 21 TgCO2e lower by 2070. When forest impacted by MPB are included, cumulative emissions relative to the baseline are greater in 2030, 2050 and 2070, due to the low utilization rate of old beetle-damaged wood.
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