Simioni, G., Ritson, P., McGrath, J., Kirschbaum, M.U.F., Copeland, B., Dumbrell, I. (2008). Predicting wood production and carbon sequestration of Pinus radiata plantations in south-western Australia: application of a process-based model. Forest Ecology and Management 255: 901-912.


Abstract. In south-western Australia a rapid decline of around 20% in rainfall occurred in the mid-1970s over much of the area. Further declines in rainfall are predicted along with increases in temperature and atmospheric CO2 levels. This study focused on the implications of such a change for the wood production and carbon sequestration of pine plantations in that region.

The process based model CenW was evaluated using measurements of basal area and soil moisture in Pinus radiata plantations at seven sites in south-western Australia, encompassing a range of climatic conditions and silvicultural treatments (fertiliser application and thinning). The model predicted basal area very well, and soil moisture reasonably well, except for one site where a water table may have provided additional water supply to the trees.

The model was then applied to assess the effects of the change in climate that has occurred since 1975, by running the model for whole 30 year rotations, using observed climate data from either the 1945-1975 or 1975-2005 periods. Simulated responses were that, for one site out of the six considered, wood production and carbon sequestration were lower in the latter period, but were unchanged or increased on all other sites. Analysis of the model outputs and additional simulations revealed that the response to the climate shift was determined by soil type (i.e. decrease in growth rate attributed to a sandy soil), and by the interaction between rising CO2 levels (positive effect) and changes in rainfall (positive or negative depending on the direction of change in rainfall).


Keywords: climate change, forest growth, model tests, modelling, net ecosystem exchange, radiata pine, Western Australia

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