913012 Carbon management in forests and impact on the carbon cycle

Lecture and exercise
Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Neumann, Mathias
Offered in
Sommersemester 2024
Languages of instruction
Deutsch, Englisch


Trees store carbon in their biomass and reduce the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. Due to this ability of trees covering large parts of the land surface makes forests an important factor in climate change mitigation. Forests hava an ambivalent role, as they can reduce the impacts of climate change and can also enhance the speed of global warming when cleared by deforestation and the stored carbon is emitted to the atmosphere. Management changes forests, the stand structures and ecological processes, for instance tree mortality and deadwood amount. We can expect both positive and negative effects of forest management on climate change. An important goal of forest management is gain positive effects by adapting management. This is only possible with a robust knowledge base and a methological- conceptual understanding of the ecosystem, the international processes and relations to societies and the environment.
In order to evaluate the effects of management alternatives and to make well-informed decisions, sound knowledge of reliable data sources, scientific terminology and methods are needed, including plant physiology, soil processes and climate. The here covered management alternatives include classical forest management, like thinnings, afforestation of not-forested areas and adaptive management concepts, like “disturbance-based silviculture” or enhancing the above and/or belowgroun carbon storage in forest in-situ or in combination with ex-situ carbon-capture-storage systems (CCS). As climate change is a global process, forests have to be considered at similar scales. Scientific, peer-reviewed, mostly english publication are the foundation of our understanding of the role of forests in the carbon cycle. Students will learn to read selected publication, understand them and discuss their implications and relevance to an audience.
This class will convey the ability to exchange thoughts on carbon and forests on a scientific level, evaluate quality of arguments and formulate the personal opinion and defend it. Links will be established to agricultural systems and their carbon storage, “carbon farming”, carbon sequestration in wood products as well as carbon accounting and carbon credits.

Previous knowledge expected

Basic knowledge of forests, biology and ecosystems, ability to read and understand english literature, interest at the topic

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

The student after completing this class will be able to answer the following questions and discuss their relevance: (1) Why is carbon important? (2) How much carbon is stored in forests and how can we quantify this? (3) How can forest management changed carbon sequestration?
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.