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Portugal: Forest Inventory-based Projection Systems for Wood and Biomass Availability


A book chapter from the CEF researchers Susana Barreiro and Margarida Tomé.

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AbstractThe forest sector gained relevance and importance in the Portuguese economy resulting from the expansion of maritime pine and eucalyptus forest areas. The growing importance of the forest-based sector promoted the enlargement/establishment of wood-based industries which increased the need for characterizing forest area and its resources. The first National Forest Inventory launched in the 1960s has been repeated every 10 years and has become all-encompassing and more detailed. Over the last decade, as a combined result of wood demand increase and wildfire occurrence, the raw material produced in Portugal ceased to satisfy current needs, and an increasing trend in wood imports was being observed. These led to the need to make long-term projections of forest resources and motivated the development of regional forest simulators capable of reflecting the availability of round-wood, taking into account numerous factors, namely: afforestation forest policies, the application of improved management schedules, hazards occurrence and uncertainties reflecting market demands. SIMPLOT, a regional simulator that uses National Forest Inventory (NFI) data as input was developed to assess woody biomass availability as well as carbon stock changes in Portuguese forests under alternative scenarios of wood and biomass demands, fire occurrence, Land Use Changes (LUC) and forest management. SIMPLOT forecasts have been used to assist in policy making as well as in the establishment of forest management strategies aiming at increasing forest productivity, and ultimately reverse the increasing import trends.