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Influence of tree species composition, thinning intensity and climate change on carbon sequestration in Mediterranean mountain forests: a case study using the CO2Fix model


  • Sergio Alvarez

    () (Technical University of Madrid
    Forestal y del Medio Natural)

  • Carlos Ortiz

    (Technical University of Madrid
    Technical University of Madrid)

  • Eugenio Díaz-Pinés

    (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

  • Agustín Rubio

    (Technical University of Madrid)


Abstract Prediction of future forest carbon (C) stocks as influenced by forest management and climate is a crucial issue in the search for strategies to mitigate and adapt to global change. It is hard to quantify the long-term effect of specific forest practices on C stocks due to the high number of processes affected by forest management. This work aims to quantify how forest management impacts C stocks in Mediterranean mountain forests based on 25 combinations of site index, tree species composition and thinning intensity in three different climate scenarios using the CO2Fix v.3.2 model Masera et al. (Ecol Modell 164:177–199, 2003). The study area is an ecotonal zone located in Central Spain, and the tree species are Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Pyrenean oak (Quercus pyrenaica Willd.). Our results show a strong effect of tree species composition and a negligible effect of thinning intensity. Mixed stands have the highest total stand C stocks: 100 % and 15 % more than pure oak and pine stands respectively, and are here suggested as a feasible and effective mitigation option. Climate change induced a net C loss compared to control scenarios, when reduction in tree growth is taken into account. Mixed stands showed the lowest reduction in forest C stocks due to climate change, indicating that mixed stands are also a valid adaptation strategy. Thus converting from pure to mixed forests would enhance C sequestration under both current and future climate conditions.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergio Alvarez & Carlos Ortiz & Eugenio Díaz-Pinés & Agustín Rubio, 2016. "Influence of tree species composition, thinning intensity and climate change on carbon sequestration in Mediterranean mountain forests: a case study using the CO2Fix model," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 21(7), pages 1045-1058, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:masfgc:v:21:y:2016:i:7:d:10.1007_s11027-014-9565-4
    DOI: 10.1007/s11027-014-9565-4

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