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Melissa Lucash presents poster at American Geophysical Union annual meeting, December 2013

posted Dec 30, 2013, 8:26 AM by Megan Creutzburg   [ updated Jan 6, 2014, 7:43 AM ]

Winds of change: How will windstorms and forest harvesting affect C cycling in northern MN under different climate scenarios?

Melissa S. Lucash1, Robert M. Scheller1, Eric Gustafson2 and Brian Sturtevant2

1Portland State University, Portland, OR; 2USDA Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Rhinelander, WI


Forest managers struggle to manage timber resources while integrating the complex interactions that exist among disturbances with the novel conditions produced by a changing climate.  To help forest managers better integrate climate change and disturbance projections into their forest management plans, we are using a forest landscape disturbance and succession model (LANDIS-II, Century extension) to project carbon sequestration in northern Minnesota under multiple climate change, management and disturbance scenarios. The model was calibrated and validated using empirical estimates of aboveground productivity and net ecosystem exchange.  Our simulations suggest that windstorms will decrease tree biomass and soil organic matter and will increase dead C, resulting in an overall decrease in total C and C sink strength under the GFDL A1FI climate scenario.  However the direct effects of climate change on C via altered production and heterotrophic respiration were larger than the impacts of wind.  Forest harvesting may still be the dominant determinant of C dynamics under A1FI, even under management scenarios of more selective logging and longer rotation periods.  Our research results will inform regional planning efforts and help forest managers evaluate the relative importance of disturbances (e.g. wind) and forest harvesting under a changing climate. 

For more information about Melissa's work, see her webpage