Forest management and carbon sequestration in the Mediterranean region: A review

Ricardo Ruiz-Peinado, Andrés Bravo-Oviedo, Eduardo López-Senespleda, Felipe Bravo, Miren Del Río


Aim of the study: To review and acknowledge the value of carbon sequestration by forest management in the Mediterranean area.

Material and methods: We review the main effects of forest management by comparing the effects of silvicultural systems (even-aged vs. uneven-aged stands, coppice systems, agroforestry systems), silvicultural options (thinning, rotation period, species composition), afforestation, harvesting, fire impact or effects of shrub layer on carbon sequestration in the Mediterranean area.

Main results: We illustrate as forest management can clearly improve forest carbon sequestration amounts. We conclude that forest management is an effective way to maintain and enhance high carbon sequestration rates in order to cope with climate change and provision of ecosystem services. We also think that although much effort has been put into this topic research, there are still certain gaps that must be dealt with to increase our scientific knowledge and in turn transfer this knowledge to forest practitioners in order to achieve sustainable management aimed at mitigating climate change.

Research highlights: It is important to underline the importance of forests in the carbon cycle as this role can be enhanced by forest managers through sustainable forest management. The effects of different management options or disturbances can be critical as regards mitigating climate change. Understanding the effects of forest management is even more important in the Mediterranean area, given that the current high climatic variability together with historical human exploitation and disturbance events make this area more vulnerable to the effects of climate change


global carbon cycle; forest sink; forest mitigation strategies; carbon sequestration potential; climate change mitigation; Mediterranean forests

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2017262-11205