A statistical thinning model for initialising large-scale ecosystem models

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Publication details

Eastaugh, CS & Hasenauer, H 2012, 'A statistical thinning model for initialising large-scale ecosystem models', Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 567-577.

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Large-scale ecosystem models are important tools for carbon assessment at national scales. Many of these models are not initialised with known field data from any particular time, but simulate the growth of each stand from its estimated germination year up to the present or future. The models will overestimate current-day standing volume or biomass unless historic stand management (biomass removal due to thinning) is taken into account. The full management history of each stand is rarely known, and must be somehow estimated. One possibility is to build statistical thinning models based on data in a National Forest Inventory, which could then be integrated into the ecosystem models. If the harvesting model is constructed using only variables that are also used within the ecosystem model, then the management impacts can be included in the ecosystem model for the entire simulated life of the stand. In the case of most flux dynamics models, this precludes the use of the tree-level data that harvesting models have traditionally relied on. In this article, we develop a novel means to interrogate a subset of the Austrian National Forest Inventory based on deriving probability density functions for particular combinations of stand and site variables. We determine the parameters of a probabilistic model to estimate historic patterns of timber removals and validate it against inventory estimates. Our procedure can establish supportable estimates of historic management regimes suitable as input data for subsequent modelling of national-scale forest carbon stocks, sources and sinks.

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