In the 21st century, there is no doubt that the climate around the world is changing. While in some areas there are increasingly drastic periods of drought, in others they are facing more extreme weather fluctuations than before. It is for this reason that scientific research is beginning to focus on how ongoing changes affect the environment. We need to know the effects of climate processes so that we can better predict how our Earth's fauna and flora will react in the future. We must also know the possible consequences of our management and take them into account. Then we will be able to adapt our thinking and environmental management to be sustainable.
The scientific team composed of, among others, employees of the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences and employees of the Institute of Global Change Research of the ASCR, found out how it is with the management of the forests of Czech meadows and groves. They focused on the analysis of the carbon and economic efficiency of economic measures associated with the cultivation of forest stands from seedlings to final eradication. The aim of the study was to compare the economic and carbon balance in selected forest stands with different species composition, different technologies of logging, approach and transport of wood. To explain - carbon efficiency means the share of production in tonnes of carbon in the amount of greenhouse gas emitted and economic efficiency means the ratio of profit to cost in percent. The results contributed to the solution of some goals of the National Forestry Program.
The processes associated with the development of the stand were divided into the following stages: production of seedlings, planting of the stand, thinning and final harvesting, approach and secondary transport of wood. For comparison, spruce and beech stands of forest types 4B and 4H, i.e. the 4th vegetation stage, were selected. Climate change is related to the spruces in these locations; stands located at medium and lower altitudes may become much more susceptible to harmful factors in the future. Inputs for economic efficiency represent quantified economic measures of cultivation and mining activities. Inputs for assessing carbon efficiency are the consumption of fossil fuels, electricity, fertilizers and other individual economic measures.
In the case of the choice of chainsaw extraction technology, the amount of carbon emissions did not differ much between beech and spruce forests. However, even in the extraction of spruce stands, high differences in carbon emissions were found between the mining methods used - chainsaw and harvesters (to the detriment of harvesters). Concentration and secondary transport of timber had the highest share in produced emissions. On the contrary, the highest economic efficiency was found in the extraction of spruce stands by harvester technology.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the share of harvesters in the total annual production of wood increased from 9% to 29% between 2009 and 2014. This trend can be expected to continue. One of the reasons is the lower economic demands of using harvesters for mining operations. Although the results of this study are not drastic, it is necessary to take into account the impact of this technology on the environment. A question to think about: "Can we afford to sacrifice the health of our forests for greater profits?"
Plch, R., Pulkrab, K., Bukacek, J., Sloup, R., Cudlin, P. (2016). Effect of Forest Management of Picea abies and Fagus sylvatica with Different Types of Felling on Carbon and Economic Balances in the Czech Republic. IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 44.
prof. Ing. Karel Pulkrab, CSc.
He is a teacher at the Department of Forestry and Wood Economics. During his work at the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, he has led many projects related to, for example, determining the amount of damage by game or models of economic measures and costs. He also has a long list of professional publications. The study on carbon and economic balance was even presented at two international conferences.
Prepared by: Lucie Hambálková