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Approaches for integrated assessment of forest ecosystem services under large scale bioenergy utilization

Tildelt: kr 11,3 mill.

Forests provide a wide array of ecosystem services that are directly affected by forest management decision, and an increased utilization of forest bioenergy is not without risk. There are concerns that extraction of biomass from boreal forest may be too costly while having adverse effects on biodiversity and climate regulation services. In the proposed project, we will investigate how the key ecosystem services 1) biodiversity, 2) climate regulation, and 3) provisioning of biomass are affected by increas ed bioenergy utilization. Ongoing research heads for integrated measures of biodiversity, climate regulation service, and economics of supply that are independent from each other, but frameworks allowing for a holistic and consistent comparison of tradeo ffs and opportunities at unified scales are largely missing. This project aims at harmonizing methods for biodiversity assessment with climate and biomass supply assessments across spatial and temporal scales. The overarching research questions are: (1) H ow should biodiversity, climate, and resource indicators be reconciled so that they are consistent across temporal and spatial dimensions?; (2) What are the tradeoffs and opportunities identified by the integrated assessment of ecosystem services under sc enarios for expanded bioenergy procurement? (3) How should strategies for forest biomass supply be designed in order to achieve win-win situations? We base our work on existing spatially-explicit data related to biodiversity, forest structure, infrastruc ture, climate, and various remotely-sensed datasets. We adapt, develop, and harmonize the indicators for the different ecosystem services and propose a framework for integrated assessment. We demonstrate the utility of the integrated assessment framework in case studies in order to: 1) demonstrate applicability and feasibility, 2) evaluate trade-offs between key ecosystem services, and 3) identify the most efficient management practices