Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 498141
Title Reconstructing European forest management from 1600 to 2010
Author(s) McGrath, M.J.; Luyssaert, S.; Meyfroidt, P.; Kaplan, J.O.; Bürgi, M.; Chen, Y.; Erb, K.; Gimmi, U.; McInerney, D.; Naudts, K.; Otto, J.; Pasztor, F.; Ryder, J.; Schelhaas, M.J.; Valade, A.
Source Biogeosciences 12 (2015)14. - ISSN 1726-4170 - p. 4291 - 4316.
DOI https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-12-4291-2015
Department(s) Alterra - Vegetation, forest and landscape ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2015
Abstract

Because of the slow accumulation and long residence time of carbon in biomass and soils, the present state and future dynamics of temperate forests are influenced by management that took place centuries to millennia ago. Humans have exploited the forests of Europe for fuel, construction materials and fodder for the entire Holocene. In recent centuries, economic and demographic trends led to increases in both forest area and management intensity across much of Europe. In order to quantify the effects of these changes in forests and to provide a baseline for studies on future land-cover-climate interactions and biogeochemical cycling, we created a temporally and spatially resolved reconstruction of European forest management from 1600 to 2010. For the period 1600-1828, we took a supply-demand approach, in which supply was estimated on the basis of historical annual wood increment and land cover reconstructions. We made demand estimates by multiplying population with consumption factors for construction materials, household fuelwood, industrial food processing and brewing, metallurgy, and salt production. For the period 1829-2010, we used a supply-driven backcasting method based on national and regional statistics of forest age structure from the second half of the 20th century. Our reconstruction reproduces the most important changes in forest management between 1600 and 2010: (1) an increase of 593 000 km2 in conifers at the expense of deciduous forest (decreasing by 538 000 km2); (2) a 612 000 km2 decrease in unmanaged forest; (3) a 152 000 km2 decrease in coppice management; (4) a 818 000 km2 increase in high-stand management; and (5) the rise and fall of litter raking, which at its peak in 1853 resulted in the removal of 50 Tg dry litter per year.

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