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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Forest Carbon Management: a Review of Silvicultural Practices and Management Strategies Across Boreal, Temperate and Tropical Forests

Ameray, Abderrahmane; Bergeron, Yves; Valeria, Osvaldo; Girona, Miguel Montoro; Cavard, Xavier


Purpose of Review Carbon sequestration and storage in forest ecosystems is often promoted as a solution for reducing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Yet, our understanding is lacking regarding how forest management strategies affect the net removal of greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change mitigation. Here, we present a review of carbon sequestration and stock dynamics, following three strategies that are widely used in boreal, temperate and tropical forests: extensive forest management, intensive forest management and old-growth forest conservation. Recent Findings Several studies show that specific forest management strategies can improve carbon sequestration capacity and soil carbon storage. Within these studies, the old-growth forest conservation strategy results in greater carbon storage in soils than do extensive and intensive forest management. Intensive forest management enhances forest carbon sequestration capacity through afforestation using fast-growing species, mechanical soil preparation from low to moderate intensity and N fertilization. Extensive forest management is an intermediate compromise regarding carbon sequestration and soil carbon storage, between conservation and intensive forest management strategies. With respect to silvicultural treatments, partial cutting is a practice that increases forest carbon sequestration rates and maintains higher carbon storage in soils compared to clear-cuts. Each silvicultural practice that is discussed in this review showed a similar effect on forest carbon in all biomes, although the magnitude of these effects differs mainly in terms of heterotrophic respiration. To achieve sustainable management and fulfill industrial demand and profitability, specific gaps must be dealt with to improve our scientific knowledge regarding forest carbon sequestration in a climate change context, mainly through the integration of the three aforementioned strategies in a functional zoning approach at the landscape scale. We present a review with promising strategies for guiding sustainable forest management in such a global context.


Carbon sequestration and storage; Sustainable forest management; Silviculture; Climate change; Partial harvest

Published in

Current Forestry Reports
2021, Volume: 7, number: 4, pages: 245-266

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production
    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


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