Stein Tomter

Senior Adviser

(+47) 905 52 012
stein.tomter@nibio.no

Place
Ås H8

Visiting address
Høgskoleveien 8, 1433 Ås

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Abstract

Key message In order to obtain the necessary information for decision making etc., it is of increasing importance to be able to assess increment in a reliable way. Only repeated measurements on permanent sample plots in national forest inventories can provide accurate and comprehensive information on the various components of annual increment. Such inventory systems are increasingly employed in European countries. The felling/increment ratio, characterizing wood use sustainability, should be expressed as the ratio of felled living trees (excluding dead trees) and net increment. Context Reporting of gross and net annual increment is an element of international forest resource assessments and crucial for sustainable forest management. A number of approaches exist for the estimation of increment and its various sub-components. Aims The main objectives of the study are to assess in detail what methods European countries have used and are planning to use in the future for international reporting of increment. Also, the usefulness of the various approaches for the assessment of increment is evaluated. Methods A questionnaire asking about their assessment methods was distributed among the UNECE/FAO national correspondents of all European countries and members of the UNECE/FAO Team of Specialists on Monitoring Sustainable Forest Management. Databases of the Temperate and Boreal Forest Resource Assessment 2000 and of the State of Europe’s Forests 2011 were also used. Furthermore, the methodological background was described on the basis of relevant literature sources and some examples for country groups presented. Results Countries have indicated what methods they used for assessment of various increment components, and the percentage of countries, forest area, and growing stock corresponding to these replies has been calculated. With regard to gross annual increment, these metrics represent about one third for inventories based on permanent sample plots, but this percentage is on the increase. Conclusion The concept of the “control method” for forest management was developed more than 100 years ago but only utilized at the local level. The same methodology is now widely used at the national and regional level due to the implementation of modern national forest inventories using permanent sample plots. Care should be taken to utilize the data correctly for international forest resource assessments, in order to, e.g., avoid double counting of dead trees.

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Abstract

Key message The increment estimation methods of European NFIs were explored by means of 12 essential NFI features. The results indicate various differences among NFIs within the commonly acknowledged methodological frame. The perspectives for harmonisation at the European level are promising. Context The estimation of increment is implemented differently in European National Forest Inventories (NFIs) due to different historical origins of NFIs and sampling designs and field assessments accommodated to country-specific conditions. The aspired harmonisation of increment estimation requires a comparison and an analysis of NFI methods. Aims The objective was to investigate the differences in volume increment estimation methods used in European NFIs. The conducted work shall set a basis for harmonisation at the European level which is needed to improve information on forest resources for various strategic processes. Methods A comprehensive enquiry was conducted during Cost Action FP1001 to explore the methods of increment estimation of 29 European NFIs. The enquiry built upon the preceding Cost Action E43 and was complemented by an analysis of literature to demonstrate the methodological backgrounds. Results The comparison of methods revealed differences concerning the NFI features such as sampling grids, periodicity of assessments, permanent and temporary plots, use of remote sensing, sample tree selection, components of forest growth, forest area changes, sampling thresholds, field measurements, drain assessment, involved models and tree parts included in estimates. Conclusion Increment estimation methods differ considerably among European NFIs. Their harmonisation introduces new issues into the harmonisation process. Recent accomplishments and the increased use of sample-based inventories in Europe make perspectives for harmonised reporting of increment estimation promising.

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Abstract

Key message Quality and reliability of forest resource assessments depend on the ability of national forest inventories (NFIs) to supply necessary and high-quality data. Over the last decades and especially since the 1990s, the NFIs in European countries have been rapidly developing. Possibilities for obtaining reliable and accurate data on annual increment from different inventory types were evaluated, and sample-based inventories have been found to be superior to standwise inventories in providing reliable data. Simplified methods may be employed when increment cannot be directly estimated from inventory data. Context An increasing intensity of forest resource use requires more accurate, detailed and reliable information, not only on forest area and growing stock but also on forest stand productivity, wood increment and its components. Aims The main objectives were to assess the capacities of forest inventories, the methods used for estimation of gross increment and its components and their accuracy and to demonstrate an effective method for estimation of increment when direct inventory methods are not available. Methods Data about national forest inventory methods were obtained from 30 responses to a questionnaire, distributed amongst national correspondents of all European countries; reports of COST Actions E43 and FP 1001, databases of Temperate and Boreal Forest Resource Assessment (TBFRA) 2000 and State of Europe’s Forests (SoEF) 2011 were used as well. Analysis and comparison of results from different forest inventories were used for evaluation of data reliability. Relationships between growing stock and gross increment in European forests were also analysed, and corresponding models were proposed. Results Seventy-nine percent of European forest area is covered by national forest inventories (NFIs) based on sampling methods and the rest on stand-level inventory and other inventory methods. Data obtained by aggregating standwise data usually underestimate growing stock by 15–20 % and gross increment even more. Almost half of the European forest area (47 %) is monitored using permanent plots, measured twice or more, allowing the estimation of gross increment and its components to be made directly. Conclusion Implementation of NFIs based on sampling methods, especially with permanent plots, resulted in an improvement of data quality and in most cases an increase of growing stock and gross increment. The estimation of natural losses is the weakest link in today’s NFIs and in the current assessment of European forest resources. The proposed default values for gross increment and its components is an option to be used in countries not having NFI at all or those which have started it only recently.

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Abstract

The supply of wood in Europe on a sustainable basis is highly relevant for forestry and related policies, particularly in relation to (i) analysing global change mitigation strategies and carbon accounting (ii) establishing realistic forecasts and targets for wood resources, biomass and renewable energy and (iii) assessing and supporting strategies for an increased use of wood. Therefore, it is relevant to have robust information of the availability for wood supply. The main aim of this paper is to harmonize the concept of ‘forest available for wood supply’ (FAWS) at European level. The data employed in this study was acquired through two questionnaires. The first questionnaire, conducted under the framework of COST Action FP1001 and a second questionnaire was completed by national correspondents and members of the UNECE/FAO. The analysis showed that reasons for the exclusion of forest from FAWS are diverse. Legal restrictions and specifically ´Protected areas´ are considered by 79% of the countries while very few countries consider economic restrictions. A new FAWS reference definition is provided and the consequences of using this new definition in eight European countries were analysed. Application of the proposed definition will increase consistency and comparability of data on FAWS and will result in decreasing the area of FAWS at a European level.

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Estimates of growing stock in European countries vary mainly by using different thresholds for dbh of sample trees, as well as by the inclusion or exclusion of stump and stem top volume. European national forest inventories use dbh thresholds ranging from 0 to 12 cm in estimating the volume of growing stock. COST Action E43 has agreed to a reference definition for growing stock with a dbh threshold of 0 cm. With use of national volume distributions by dbh classes, models for estimating the proportions of growing stock between the national threshold and the 0-cm threshold were constructed. Models for characterizing growing stock distributions were tested, and their predictive abilities were investigated. Similar comparisons were made with respect to the volume of stumps and stem tops. Examples of estimation methods and the resulting percentages of these tree elements of total growing stock are presented.

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Ambitious targets for renewable energy production in Norway draw attention to biomass potent-ials. The objective of this report is to review the state of the art regarding research on estimation methods, the availability and production of tree biomass resources for energy purposes in Norway in order to indentify knowledge gaps and thus facilitate appropriate focus, development and priorities regarding research for the coming years. The review focuses on biomass from pri-mary forest production with emphasis on Norwegian conditions, but also considers international research, especially from the other Nordic countries. Three main subject areas are considered: - biomass estimation - biomass resources and availability - biomass production. The first part of this report comprises an overview of existing biomass equations and associated inventory methods applied for estimating biomass in Norway. The overview includes a description of the Norwegian National Forest Inventory data as a basis for large-scale biomass assessments. The second part of the report comprises an overview of previous Norwegian assessments of biomass as an energy supplier as well as suggestions for improvements in such assessments. Improvement possibilities regarding the impacts of environmentally oriented restrictions, appropriate models for productivity and cost calculations regarding biomass harvesting systems, and implementation of biomass-related features in existing decisions support systems to facilitate analyses, where timber production and biomass production for energy purposes are equally important, are identified. The final part of the review focuses on silvi-cultural options aiming at optimizing the value of total biomass instead of the conventional approach to silviculture where the main focus is timber values.

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Abstract

As a party to the Kyoto Protocol, Norway will be required to report its emissions by sources and removals by sinks of CO2 and other greenhouse gases resulting from afforestation, reforestation and deforestation (Article 3.3 of the Kyoto Protocol) for the first commitment period (2008-2012) and receive credits or debits accordingly. Norway will, in 2006, need to make a choice on election of activities under Article 3.4 – Forest Management, Cropland Management, Revegetation and Grazing Land Management. The purpose of this report is to provide estimates of the amount of emissions and removals to be expected under Article 3.3 and initial estimates of magnitudes of emissions/removals for different choices of 3.4 activities. The estimates are preliminary and uncertain. […]

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Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change under the UN finalised in 2004 the report “Good Practice Guidance for Estimating and Reporting of Emissions and Removals from Land Use, Landuse Change and Forestry”. The present report describes the data material and the methods used to provide such estimates for Norway for the period from 1990. Land-use changes cause changes in carbon storage, thus indirectly emissions and removals of CO2. Removals of CO2 in Norway due to land-use change are relatively insignificant compared to sequestration in existing forest. For 2003, the net sequestration of CO2 from this sector has been estimated at 21 million tonnes. That would correspond to about 38% of the total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. The net sequestration increased by approximately 60 per cent from 1990 to 2003.

Abstract

Distance-independent individual tree growth models based on about 30,000 observations from the National Forest Inventory and the Norwegian Forest Research Institute have been developed for the main tree species in Norway.The models predict 5-year basal area increment over bark for trees larger than 5cm at breast height. Potential input variables were of four types: size of the tree, competition indices, site conditions, and stand variables including species, mixtures and layers. The squared correlation coefficient (R2) varied from 0.26 to 0.55.The accuracy of the models was tested by comparing the individual tree models with Norwegian diameter increment models. The accuracy is similar, but individual tree models forecast diameter distributions directly. The inclusion of species mixture and layer as variables increases the reliability of the models in mixed and in uneven-aged stands