Carbon budget model

Carbon budget model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3)The operational-scale Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) is an aspatial, stand- and landscape-level modeling framework that simulates the dynamics of all forest carbon stocks required under the Kyoto Protocol (aboveground biomass, belowground biomass, litter, dead wood and soil organic carbon). It complies with the carbon estimation methods outlined in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Good Practice Guidance For Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (2003) report.

Video - Climate change

Link to video

Dr. Werner Kurz discusses how Canada’s forests contribute to the overall carbon balance and explains how forest management and the use of forest products can promote carbon sequestration. Duration: 2:59

The model uses much the same information as is required for forest management planning (e.g., forest inventory, tree species, growth and yield curves, natural and human-induced disturbance information, forest harvest schedule and land-use change information), supplemented with information from national ecological parameter databases.

With this sophisticated but user-friendly software, users apply their own stand- or landscape-level forest management information to calculate carbon stocks and stock changes for the past (monitoring) or into the future (projection). Users can also create, simulate and compare various forest management scenarios in order to assess impacts on carbon.

Tools in the model assist users in importing required data from common timber supply models such as Remsoft® Spatial Woodstock™, or from user-developed data files.

The model contains graphic user interfaces to help users prepare data, define scenarios, perform analyses, and examine results. Although the model currently contains a set of default ecological parameters appropriate for Canada, the parameters can be modified by the user, allowing for potential application of the model in other countries. Other languages could also be added to the user interface in the future.

The CBM-CFS3 is currently available for download free of charge. By enabling forest managers to consider the effects of their planned activities on forest carbon stocks and stock changes, application of the model can potentially contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.


How the CBM-CFS3 was developed

In 2002, the carbon accounting team at Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service, in partnership with the Canadian Model Forest Network, responded to the forest industry’s need for an operational-scale carbon accounting tool. The tool was needed to help the industry meet the criteria and indicator reporting requirements of sustainable forest management, reporting requirements for forest certification, and to help managers understand how their actions affect the net carbon balance of their forest estate.

The goal of the partnership was to develop a user-friendly operational-scale carbon accounting tool. Over the course of the project, the carbon accounting team led the development and testing of the tool, which was to be known as the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3). Two model forests, the Lake Abitibi Model Forest and the Western Newfoundland Model Forest, were selected as pilot sites for development and testing of the model. As development proceeded, other model forests and their partners from across Canada contributed to model development through the testing of a beta-version.

A release version was made available free of charge to the forestry community in 2005, along with a user’s guide and tutorials.

How CBM-CFS3 results can be used

The Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) is the central model in Canada’s National Forest Carbon Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System, which is used for international reporting of the carbon balance of Canada’s managed forest (Kurz and Apps 2006).

Forest managers can use the CBM-CFS3 to:

  • create several projects for different forest management options, compare results in terms of carbon, and select the plan that best meets their objectives
  • observe results of management actions in individual stands in terms of carbon, in order to decide whether to apply those actions to their entire management area
  • modify ecological parameters and climate data in order to assess potential future changes to ecological conditions in their management areas.

Results of analyses made with the CBM-CFS3 can be used for various types of forest ecosystem carbon reporting requirements. In Canada, for example, forest managers can use the model to report on forest carbon contributions to global cycles in order to comply with sustainable forest management guidelines. CBM-CFS3 results may also be used to report on carbon when applying for or maintaining forest certification (e.g., under the Canadian Standards Association Sustainable Forest Management Program).

Download instructions

The operational-scale Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) is currently available as a free download from a secure website. (For more information, please contact Stephen Kull.)

Any information you provide on the website cannot be viewed by anyone other than the administrator of the website.

You will be asked to login to Canada’s National Forest Information System (NFIS) by selecting your jurisdiction and entering your account username and password. If you do not have an account, click on the “Registration” button under the “New to NFIS” section, create an account, and then login to the website using your new account information.

Your login authorization and language selection will be stored using cookies. Cookies are small text files that are stored on your computer and make it easy for you to move around the website without having to re-enter your name, password and language selection.

After logging into your account, you will be directed to the “Operational-Scale Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3)” downloads page, where you will find two links, one for the “CBM-CFS3 version 1.2” (the latest version of the model and documentation), and one for “CBM-CFS3 Archived Versions” (obsolete versions of the model and documentation). The “CBM-CFS3 version 1.2” link leads to a folder containing downloadable files including two Microsoft software products required to run the CBM-CFS3, the CBM-CFS3 installation file, and the CBM-CFS3 User’s Guide. All of these files are available free of charge. Simply click on a file to download it.

Chapter 2 of the Operational-Scale Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) Version 1.2: User’s Guide contains computer system requirements to operate the model. Tutorials can be found under the “Help” menu in the main window of the CBM-CFS3.

Root database

The default root biomass dynamics in the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector (CBM-CFS3) are based on a paper by Li, Apps and Beukema (2003).*

The authors used a root database (235 kb XLS) containing data compiled from published studies in Canada, northern and central Europe, the former USSR, the United States, Japan, and New Zealand. (The main literature sources are presented in Table 2 of the paper.)

The database consists of 635 data pairs that can be grouped into three data sets. The first data set contains 443 pairs of total aboveground and belowground biomass (340 and 103 pairs for softwood and hardwood species, respectively); the second includes 90 pairs of total root and fine root biomass data; and the third contains 102 pairs of fine root biomass and fine root production data.

The root database is provided to CBM-CFS3 users interested in understanding the source of the CBM-CFS3's root parameter data. Users of these data are requested to cite the paper. (The complete citation is provided below.)

Although we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the data compilation, we cannot be held responsible for the data. Please report any observed problems or any questions.

*Li, Z.; Kurz, W.A.; Apps, M.J.; Beukema, S.J. 2003. Below ground biomass dynamics in the Carbon Budget Model of the Canadian Forest Sector: recent improvement and implications for the estimation of NPP and NEP. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 33:126-136.

Training workshops

The carbon accounting team at Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Forest Service, in partnership with the Canadian Model Forest Network (CMFN), conducts annual CBM-CFS3 technical training workshops. For information about upcoming CBM-CFS3 training workshops, contact Stephen Kull.