An optimisation based decision support system to assess theimpact of climate change and an expanding bioeconomy on theprovision of ecosystem services in Ireland's westernpeatland forests

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Title: An optimisation based decision support system to assess theimpact of climate change and an expanding bioeconomy on theprovision of ecosystem services in Ireland's westernpeatland forests
Authors: Lundholm, Anders
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/11826
Date: 2020
Online since: 2020-12-18T12:33:15Z
Abstract: Forest Management Decision Support Systems (FMDSSs) have long been used in the forest industry to assist in the planning process, mainly focusing on finances and timber production. The work presented in this thesis focuses on the development of a linear programming optimisation model (the ALTERFOR model), using the DSS Remsoft Woodstock. The ALTERFOR model was designed to include indicators for several Ecosystem Services (ESs), i.e. timber, carbon pools, windthrow risk, biodiversity, water quality, and cultural services, as well as impacts from climate change and dynamic timber assortment prices, based on global development scenarios. The scenarios that included greater efforts to mitigate climate change also included higher dynamic timber assortment prices, to represent the increased demand for timber resulting from an expanding bioeconomy. The Barony of Moycullen in county Galway, Ireland, was used as Case Study Area (CSA), and forest management actions commonly used in Ireland and management approaches specific to the CSA were identified and included in the ALTERFOR model, as well as the associated costs, wood prices, and all relevant forest policies and regulations. The ALTERFOR model was first used to find the biophysical ES provision ranges in the forest landscape, and to evaluate how different global scenarios will affect forest composition, forest management actions, Net Present Value (NPV) and ESs, based on current Forest Management Models (cFMMs). Alternative FMMs (aFMMs) were developed to address issues identified by stakeholders. The aFMMs were incorporated in the ALTERFOR model and the global scenarios where re-run to assess how they influenced ES delivery. The model resulted in several linked ESs being identified, where managing for one ES indicator always provided a high or low supply of the other ES indicators, and vice versa. For example, high timber harvest volumes coincided with lower total carbon storage (in the forest, wood products, and due to carbon substitution) lower windthrow risk, and high P emissions, and vice versa. Interestingly, the dynamic assortment prices in the global scenarios had significantly higher impacts on forest management approaches and NPV than climate change itself. Implementing recently introduced environmental forest policy also impacted on the eligible management options, which led to forest composition changes, with large areas converted to aquatic buffer zones and most Sitka spruce replaced with lodgepole pine. The aFMMs were established on large areas in the CSA, and utilising combinations of cFMMs and aFMMs contributed to higher NPV, lower windthrow risk, more biodiversity, lower P emissions and higher recreation and aesthetic values – all ES provision changes that were considered beneficial. Although the aFMMs generally resulted in less timber production and carbon storage, it is likely that forest managers will use them in the future due to their many benefits. The customisability of Remsoft Woodstock allows the ALTERFOR model to be applied in other forest landscapes in Ireland with only minor modifications. The modelling framework presented in this thesis, with regards to ES indicators and global scenarios, can also be implemented in other countries in any Woodstock model with a profit maximisation objective. This is the first Irish study to combine such a broad range of ESs, climate change, dynamic assortment prices and alternative management approaches in a FMDSS. The ALTERFOR model can also be used to evaluate the impacts of introducing new forest policy and certification rules.
Type of material: Doctoral Thesis
Publisher: University College Dublin. School of Agriculture and Food Science
Qualification Name: Ph.D.
Copyright (published version): 2020 the Author
Keywords: Linear programmingForest managementForest planningBlanket peat forestry
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ie/
Appears in Collections:Agriculture and Food Science Theses

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