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On the economics of Norway spruce stands and carbon storage

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Abstract:

We combine a process-based growth model for even-aged Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.) with economics and optimization. Carbon storage is subsidized based on stand growth and product decay. We include detailed optimized thinnings and timber quality features and present cost functions for stand-level CO2 storage. In contrast to earlier studies, our results suggest that changing thinning strategies and postponing thinnings are at least as important as lengthening the rotation period when considering economically efficient carbon storage. The role of thinning is most important in less fertile sites. Contrary to the generic Faustmann model, a higher interest rate increases rotation length on our fertile site. Including carbon release from decaying timber products as reductions from carbon subsidies only has minor effects on optimal solutions. The fertile site stores more discounted carbon. However, with a 1% interest rate, the less fertile site is cost-efficient up to 13 CO2 t·ha−1, and with a 3% interest rate, it is cost-efficient up to 14 CO2 t·ha−1. After these points, carbon storage on the fertile site becomes cheaper. The economic costs of carbon storage suggest that it is optimal to apply carbon storage in Norway spruce forests to meet greenhouse gas reduction commitments.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-2012-0516

Affiliations: 1: University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences, P.O. Box 27, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland. 2: Finnish Forest Research Institute Metla, P.O. Box 18, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland.

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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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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