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Carbon rentals and silvicultural subsidies for private forests as climate policy instruments

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Abstract:

A forest model with an endogenous growth description and age-class structure is applied to study the impacts of potential climate policy instruments on the carbon services of privately owned and managed forests. The model describes the behaviour of a utility-maximizing private nonindustrial landowner who optimizes consumption flow, harvest timing, and the intertemporal allocation of silvicultural investments. Two policy options, one in which the landowner is granted periodic carbon rental payments and one in which the government subsidizes the costs of silvicultural investments, are studied. The rules for when the policy measures have both intended and unintended effects are derived. Using numerical examples, we demonstrate that the effectiveness of both policy options depends on the age-class structure of forests when future carbon benefits are discounted. In that case, carbon rental payments are more effective for forests with old age-class structures, while silvicultural subsidies are more effective for forests with young age-class structures.

Un modèle forestier, comportant des modules endogènes pour la croissance et la structure des classes d’âge, est utilisé afin d’étudier les impacts d’instruments potentiels considérés dans le cadre d’une politique climatique au sujet des services environnementaux que l’aménagement de forêts privées pourrait procurer en terme de carbone. Le modèle décrit le comportement d’un propriétaire non industriel qui maximise son utilité tout en optimisant sa consommation, la programmation des coupes et l’allocation intertemporelle des intrants sylvicoles. L’objet de l’étude concerne une politique prévoyant le paiement d’une rente périodique au propriétaire en échange du carbone immobilisé et une autre selon laquelle le gouvernement subventionne le coût des investissements sylvicoles. Nous dérivons des règles selon que les mesures appliquées ont les effets attendus ou non. Nous montrons, à l’aide d’exemples chiffrés, que l’efficacité de ces mesures dépend de la structure d’âge des forêts quand les bénéfices futurs associés au carbone sont escomptés. Par exemple, les rentes payées pour la rétention du carbone sont plus efficaces quand la forêt présente une structure âgée. À l’inverse, les subventions à la sylviculture sont plus efficaces quand la forêt comporte une structure d’âge plus jeune.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-12-01

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  • Published since 1971, this monthly journal features articles, reviews, notes and commentaries on all aspects of forest science, including biometrics and mensuration, conservation, disturbance, ecology, economics, entomology, fire, genetics, management, operations, pathology, physiology, policy, remote sensing, social science, soil, silviculture, wildlife and wood science, contributed by internationally respected scientists. It also publishes special issues dedicated to a topic of current interest.
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