Specifying forest sector models for forest carbon projections
Forest sector models merge models of timber inputs and final wood products markets with biophysical models of forest dynamics to project forest futures. Comprehensive treatment of biophysical dynamics is required to address the product detail of timber markets and to track changes in forest carbon. We examine assumptions for existing Forest Inventory Projection Models and empirically examine the implications for forest carbon projections. We compare model results with observations from remeasured forest inventories in the eastern United States. Results show forest carbon projections are sensitive to non-harvest disturbances, ownership, and stand-origin. Additionally, bias can arise when forest carbon stocks are estimated using correlations between average stock density and biomass aggregates. Current forest inventories provide a dataset of consistently remeasured forest plot records that will increasingly support a strong empirical foundation for Forest Inventory Projection Models.