This project is about exploring the impacts of forest management on timber quality in the context of intensification of forest management and climate change.
The demands placed on forests to provide renewable raw material are increasing and are expected to increase further as population levels increase, while such forests are expected to sequester atmospheric carbon. The demand for land to feed and accommodate an expanding population will restrict the potential for an expansion of the forest estate to address these demands. Therefore, alternative approaches including the intensification of forest management are required. European conifer forests provide rural employment, a steady supply of raw material for forest industries and act as an important carbon sink. The majority of these forests are currently grown as even-aged plantations, as this represents the most economically viable means of production, though there is currently a widespread public perception that this management style is not ecologically sound. In addition to this, the perception among end-users in construction is that the quality of timber from these forests is not fit-for-purpose.Read More...
Sustainable intensification has been defined as a form of production wherein “yields are increased without adverse environmental impact and without the cultivation of more land” (The Royal Society, 2009). In this proposal, we use the term “intensively managed forests” to refer to the replacement of (slow) natural processes by human interventions to speed up the development stages of the trees/stands and to extract the maximum amount of produce in the shortest possible time, including the recovery of material (i.e. thinnings) that would have been lost to natural mortality.
The project has a number of specific objectives:
- Examine standing volume in the forests of the partner countries with respect to future demands of the processing industry
Read More...a. Evaluate the current and projected quantity of wood required for sawn timber, co-products and energy at the national and international level within the partner states. Assess the existing forest resource in partner-countries with respect to the projected requirements in the context of climate change. Identify the future demand on forests to fulfil demand for raw material for wood-based products with a long-term application which ensures long-lasting carbon storage (such as in construction or other long-life wood products).
- b. Determine the potential impact of climate change on yield and range of wood properties produced.
- Improving the resource efficiency by addressing current and potential future growth conditions.
Read More...a. Identify the best-suited provenances of Sitka spruce and Douglas fir over various site conditions and in the context of climate change.
b. Determine the impact of faster tree growth on wood properties. The effects of management for greater volume growth, hence shorter rotation length, on the raw material properties specific to end-product requirements will be assessed.
- Process optimisation of the forestry wood chain.
Read More...a. Add value to the forestry wood chain by improving raw material allocation, optimised for end product purpose, according to the characteristics of forests, trees, logs and woody biomass.
b. Develop methodologies based on integrated modelling and simulation approaches to merge information flow between forest and industry and identify the interfaces in the forest-wood chain for this information for the economic benefit of both stakeholders.
- Investigate the social acceptance of intensive forest cultivation and of wood as a renewable resource for construction and energy grown under such conditions.
Read More...a. Investigate the public perception of intensive forest management.
b. Investigate public attitudes to wood derived from such forests as a renewable material and form of energy, with special emphasis on sustainability.
c. Improve the image of wood in construction by determining and challenging societal barriers to its wider acceptance and utilisation.