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An Integrated Economic–Ecological Analysis of Land Use Decisions in Forest–Agriculture Fringe Regions of Northern Saskatchewan

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In the past, land use decisions favouring agricultural production have been guided primarily by economic and social considerations, many of which tend to be short-run in nature. Inclusion of long-run sustainability considerations, such as global warming, may alter such decisions, particularly on those lands that are marginal for agricultural production. This study supports this hypothesis for Northern Saskatchewan, using the Boreal forest-agricultural transitional zone as a case study. Two land uses were considered: forests and agricultural production. Ecological benefits resulting from carbon sequestration through forests were incorporated in the decision-making, along with commercial benefits from the two land uses. Net social benefits from both the land use patterns were used as the basis for selecting the socially optimal land use. Both of the series of net social benefits were subjected to econometric estimation to reveal flow value of each land use. Stochastic dominance criterion was used to compare the two flow values, in the determination of the socially preferred option. Results suggest that reforestation of marginal agricultural lands in Northern Saskatchewan is socially desirable, particularly when the role of the forests in mitigating global warming is taken into account.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2001

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