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Spatio-temporal change in forest cover and carbon storage considering actual and potential forest cover in South Korea

This study analyzes change in carbon storage by applying forest growth models and final cutting age to actual and potential forest cover for six major tree species in South Korea. Using National Forest Inventory data, the growth models were developed to estimate mean diameter at breast height, tree height, and number of trees for Pinus densiflora, Pinus koraiensis, Pinus rigida, Larix kaempferi, Castanea crenata and Quercus spp. stands. We assumed that actual forest cover in a forest type map will change into potential forest covers according to the Hydrological and Thermal Analogy Groups model. When actual forest cover reaches the final cutting age, forest volume and carbon storage are estimated by changed forest cover and its growth model. Forest volume between 2010 and 2110 would increase from 126.73 to 157.33 m3 hm−2. Our results also show that forest cover, volume, and carbon storage could abruptly change by 2060. This is attributed to the fact that most forests are presumed to reach final cutting age. To avoid such dramatic change, a regeneration and yield control scheme should be prepared and implemented in a way that ensures balance in forest practice and yield.
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