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Carbon sequestration and the optimal forest harvest decision: A dynamic programming approach considering biomass and dead organic matter

  • Asante, Patrick
  • Armstrong, Glen W.
  • Adamowicz, Wiktor L.

Carbon sequestration in forests is being considered as a mechanism to slow or reverse the trend of increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We present results from a dynamic programming model used to determine the optimal harvest decision for a forest stand in the boreal forest of western Canada that provides both timber harvest volume and carbon sequestration services. The state of the system at any point in time is described by stand age and the amount of carbon in the dead organic matter pool. Merchantable timber volume and biomass are predicted as a function of stand age. Carbon stocks in the dead organic matter pool changes as a result of decomposition and litterfall. The results of the study indicate that while optimal harvest age is relatively insensitive to carbon stocks in dead organic matter, initial carbon stock levels significantly affect economic returns to carbon management.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Forest Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 3-17

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Handle: RePEc:eee:foreco:v:17:y:2011:i:1:p:3-17
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  1. G. Cornelis van Kooten & Clark S. Binkley & Gregg Delcourt, 1995. "Effect of Carbon Taxes and Subsidies on Optimal Forest Rotation Age and Supply of Carbon Services," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 77(2), pages 365-374.
  2. Hartman, Richard, 1976. "The Harvesting Decision When a Standing Forest Has Value," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(1), pages 52-58, March.
  3. Gutrich, John & Howarth, Richard B., 2007. "Carbon sequestration and the optimal management of New Hampshire timber stands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 441-450, May.
  4. Samuelson, Paul A, 1976. "Economics of Forestry in an Evolving Society," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 466-92, December.
  5. Spring, Daniel & Kennedy, John O.S. & Mac Nally, Ralph, 2005. "Optimal management of a flammable forest providing timber and carbon sequestration benefits: an Australian case study," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 49(3), September.
  6. Chladna, Zuzana, 2007. "Determination of optimal rotation period under stochastic wood and carbon prices," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(8), pages 1031-1045, May.
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