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Regional Impacts of a Program for Private Forest Carbon Offset Sales

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Abstract:

Policymakers are examining a wide range of alternatives for climate change mitigation, including carbon offset sales programs, to enhance sequestration in the forest sector. Under an offset sales program, on-the-ground forestry could change as a result of both afforestation and modifications in the management of existing forests. These effects could vary markedly by region in the United States because of differences in areas of agricultural land suitable for afforestation, forest carbon and volume growth characteristics, the structure of landownership, and forest industry concentration. Using a dynamic model of North American markets, our analysis of alternative carbon price levels suggests that the largest carbon increment response would come from changes in forest management: extending rotations, shifting silvicultural regimes, and reforestation to hardwood forest types (in some regions). Carbon payments could also stimulate a substantial afforestation response in eastern regions (North and South). Afforestation is particularly important in the North where timberland area could expand markedly. Much of the area would be planted to hardwoods, stemming the projected decline in hardwood forest types and growing stock volume.

Keywords: afforestation; forest carbon payments; policy simulations

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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