Mitigation options through innovative wood product use

Increasing atmospheric carbon concentration is the main driver of climate change. Forests contribute to reduce atmospheric carbon with photosynthesis and store it into ecosystem compartments. If wood is harvested, carbon can be further stored in wood products, and therefore increase climate change mitigation. Within this project we aim to (a) identify innovative wood products with high climate change mitigation potential, and (b) estimate the mitigation effect of using the identified wood products instead of alternative materials.

In order to achieve our objectives we will use models. Forest growth has been analysed and modelled. Carbon storage in wood products has been modelled, but it has only been superficially analysed. Forest growth models can be as simple as yield tables or as complex as biogeochemical process models like BIOME-BGC. In literature, we can find studies analysing and classifying forest growth models. Allocation of harvested wood to products has been modelled using mainly expert estimations on industries efficiency and assumptions like lifespan or removal rate. Literature review on wood product models (WPM) is missing. The first publication of this PhD will be a literature review to identify WPM features and to classify existing WPM.

Knowing the features and the state-of-the-art of WPM, we want to develop a new one and implement it into BIOME-BGC (version ZALF), a climate sensitive forest growth model. Our second publication will be the description of the developed WPM with the correspondent sensitivity and uncertainty analysis using estimations of an already existing model (CO2FIX).

With the new WPM implemented into the forest growth model BIOME-BGC, we want to analyse the effect of the WPM features that have not been analysed before. Depending on obtained results, we could publish them either into the second paper or in a new publication if they are enough relevant.

Finally, we will apply our new coupled model in a case study, for which we plan two options. The first option is to apply the model in a specific area. In this case we would interview wood based industries in Brandenburg so we could estimate efficiency of wood-based industries and the type of products produced in this region. The second option is to apply the model to industries producing innovative wood products with high climate change mitigation potential (long lived products or products with high recycling rates) wherever they are located. This second option aims to identify maximum climate change potential of harvested wood. The results of these interviews will be published in the last paper of the PhD.