PS 15-14 - Simulating the impacts of climate change, land use and mitigation strategies on forest biomass in northern Wisconsin, USA

Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Weimin Xi1, David J. Mladenoff2, Robert M. Scheller3, Sarah D. Pratt2, Linda R. Parker4 and Christopher W. Swanston5, (1)Biological and Health Sciences, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Kingsville, TX, (2)Department of Forest & Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, (3)Department of Environmental Science and Management, Portland State University, Portland, OR, (4)Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, U. S. Forest Service, Park Falls, WI, (5)Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, USDA Forest Service, Houghton, MI

Northern Wisconsin forests have been experiencing the effects of climate changing, but the collective effects are complex due to strong interactions with continuous forest growth and succession, increasing land development, harvesting, and frequent natural disturbance (e.g., fire and windthrow). We conducted a spatial simulation with LANDIS-II under future climate change scenarios, incorporating land development, natural and management disturbance, and mitigation alternatives to evaluate those complex interactions on forest biomass over the next 100 years. We focused on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and surrounding area in northern Wisconsin. We assumed that the future harvesting and land use patterns will resemble the recent past, and we estimated harvesting and development rates from recent land cover change data. We also considered the influences of different land ownership (i.e., public vs. private lands) on the rates of timber harvesting and land conversion. 


We found a net positive change trend in aboveground biomass in comparison to the current biomass throughout all simulation scenarios. Natural disturbance, timber harvesting and land development lowered landscape forest aboveground biomass compared to the control (i.e., succession only scenario) over time. Our simulation results indicated that succession and harvesting remain the dominant drivers with climate change and land use rapidly showing strong effects. Our study suggested that active mitigation strategies to maximum carbon sequestration may have positive effects on the aboveground carbon storage on the national forest and surrounding area.

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