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An economic analysis of the establishment of forest plantations in the United Kingdom to mitigate climatic change


  • Nijnik, Maria
  • Pajot, Guillaume
  • Moffat, Andy J.
  • Slee, Bill


This paper addresses the economic dimensions of climate change mitigation by afforestation in the UK and the necessity of reconciling sustainable development with carbon sequestration forest policy initiatives. Present value costs per tonne of carbon sequestration through the creation of new forests are estimated, and results of a static comparative analysis, aiming to show the influence of key variables on the costs, are presented and discussed. The paper provides empirical evidence of the cost effectiveness of the establishment of forest plantations for climate change mitigation in different locations in the UK, identifying also the importance of placing forestry for carbon sequestration in the general context of rural land use, where significant policy reforms can be anticipated. The evidence from this research suggests that the choice of location for forestry development, and of appropriate species and management regimes to be applied, are important factors in determining economic costs. Afforestation with relatively fast growing tree species (e.g. Sitka spruce) on low grade agricultural land (e.g. currently used for sheep grazing) may be a cost effective option. The general conclusion is that there is a case for forestry in the UK to contribute to climate mitigation, that woodlands expansion is likely competitive with other means of removing carbon from the atmosphere, and that in certain cases and locations, afforestation projects may provide relatively low cost options for carbon sequestration.

Suggested Citation

  • Nijnik, Maria & Pajot, Guillaume & Moffat, Andy J. & Slee, Bill, 2013. "An economic analysis of the establishment of forest plantations in the United Kingdom to mitigate climatic change," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(C), pages 34-42.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:26:y:2013:i:c:p:34-42
    DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2012.10.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. van Kooten, G. Cornelis & Sohngen, Brent, 2007. "Economics of Forest Ecosystem Carbon Sinks: A Review," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 237-269, September.
    2. van Kooten, G. Cornelis & Eagle, Alison J. & Manley, James G. & Smolak, Tara M., 2004. "How Costly Are Carbon Offsets? A Meta-Analysis Of Carbon Forest Sinks," Working Papers 18166, University of Victoria, Resource Economics and Policy.
    3. Nijnik, Maria & Bizikova, Livia, 2008. "Responding to the Kyoto Protocol through forestry: A comparison of opportunities for several countries in Europe," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 257-269, February.
    4. Newell, Richard G. & Stavins, Robert N., 2000. "Climate Change and Forest Sinks: Factors Affecting the Costs of Carbon Sequestration," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 211-235, November.
    5. H. Böttcher & A. Freibauer & Y. Scholz & V. Gitz & P. Ciais & M. Mund & T. Wutzler & E.-D. Schulze, 2012. "Setting priorities for land management to mitigate climate change," Post-Print hal-00716172, HAL.
    6. Huang, Ching-Hsun & Kronrad, Gary D., 2001. "The cost of sequestering carbon on private forest lands," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 133-142, June.
    7. G. C. van Kooten, 2004. "Climate Change Economics," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3424.
    8. Brainard, Julii & Bateman, Ian J. & Lovett, Andrew A., 2009. "The social value of carbon sequestered in Great Britain's woodlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1257-1267, February.
    9. G. Cornelis van Kooten & Alison Eagle & James Manley & Tara Smolak, 2004. "How Costly are Carbon Offsets? A Meta-Analysis of Forest Carbon Sinks," Working Papers 2004-01, University of Victoria, Department of Economics, Resource Economics and Policy Analysis Research Group.
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    Cited by:

    1. Utkur Djanibekov & Asia Khamzina, 2016. "Stochastic Economic Assessment of Afforestation on Marginal Land in Irrigated Farming System," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 63(1), pages 95-117, January.
    2. Salles, Thiago Taglialegna & Nogueira, Denismar Alves & Beijo, Luiz Alberto & Silva, Liniker Fernandes da, 2019. "Bayesian approach and extreme value theory in economic analysis of forestry projects," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 64-71.
    3. Iain Brown & Marie Castellazzi & Diana Feliciano, 2014. "Comparing Path Dependence and Spatial Targeting of Land Use in Implementing Climate Change Responses," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(3), pages 1-24, July.
    4. Hopkins, Jonathan & Sutherland, Lee-Ann & Ehlers, Melf-Hinrich & Matthews, Keith & Barnes, Andrew & Toma, Luiza, 2017. "Scottish farmers' intentions to afforest land in the context of farm diversification," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 122-132.


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