Model Forecasts Long-Term Impacts of Forest Land-Use Decisions
(PhysOrg) The drive to develop crops for use as biofuel, continues to raise questions about additional uses of forest land. A cutting edge computer model developed at North Carolina State University offers detailed insight to predict the environmental impact – along with understanding forest ecosystem response to global climate change.
“We think the model will help policy makers and forest managers make informed decisions to maintain forest productivity while minimizing the environmental impact of managed forest plantations,” says Dr. Shiying Tian, a Postdoctoral Researcher at NC State, and lead author of a paper on the model, just released in the Journal Of Environmental Quality. “It also will help us understand how these forest systems will respond if we see changes in temperature or precipitation related to climate change,” says Dr. Mohamed Youssef, Assistant Professor of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NC State, and co-author.
…The new model is timely, due to a number of emerging uses for forest land. One example, the national interest in identifying new means of growing biofuels crops, like switchgrass, by planting it in the space between trees in commercial forests. DRAINMOD-FOREST will help determine whether such an “inter-crop” method is viable and sustainable. Would it hinder tree growth? What would the environmental consequences be? “We could also use the model to determine the viability and environmental impact of introducing new commercial tree species,” Tian says. READ MORE Abstract