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Investing in energy forestry under uncertainty


  • Di Corato, Luca
  • Gazheli, Ardjan
  • Lagerkvist, Carl-Johan


Farmer's decisions to invest in renewable energy sources can contribute to lower greenhouse gas and mitigate climate change. However, it remains unclear how associated high sunk establishment costs, long-term commitment, highly uncertain net returns, and policy induced incentives could drive farmer's decision to afforest agricultural land. A real option model is used to theoretically frame the decision to switch from agriculture to energy forestry. Optimal investment timing is modeled and the functioning of government subsidies offered to speed up the switch to energy forestry is analyzed. The empirical analysis examines the establishment of new short-rotation coppice willow stands in Central East Sweden. It is shown that in the presence of volatile agricultural profits and high establishment costs, subsidies are needed to accelerate investment. We then examine the case of the municipality of Enköping and show that the combination of governmental subsidies for energy forestry with compensation for sewage sludge treatment provides an effective stimulus to investment in new willow stands which also has environmental benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Di Corato, Luca & Gazheli, Ardjan & Lagerkvist, Carl-Johan, 2013. "Investing in energy forestry under uncertainty," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 56-64.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:forpol:v:34:y:2013:i:c:p:56-64 DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2013.06.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. Hildebrandt, Patrick & Knoke, Thomas, 2011. "Investment decisions under uncertainty--A methodological review on forest science studies," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-15, January.
    6. Ericsson, Karin & Huttunen, Suvi & Nilsson, L.J.Lars J. & Svenningsson, Per, 2004. "Bioenergy policy and market development in Finland and Sweden," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(15), pages 1707-1721, October.
    7. Conrad, Jon M., 1997. "On the option value of old-growth forest," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 97-102, August.
    8. Luca Corato & Michele Moretto & Sergio Vergalli, 2013. "Land conversion pace under uncertainty and irreversibility: too fast or too slow?," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 110(1), pages 45-82, September.
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    14. Feng Song & Jinhua Zhao & Scott M. Swinton, 2011. "Switching to Perennial Energy Crops Under Uncertainty and Costly Reversibility," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(3), pages 764-779.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kostrova, Alisa & Britz, Wolfgang & Finger, Robert & Djanibekov, Utkur, 2016. "Real Options Approach And Stochastic Programming In Farm Level Analysis: The Case Of Short-Rotation Coppice Cultivation," 56th Annual Conference, Bonn, Germany, September 28-30, 2016 244864, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    2. repec:eee:rensus:v:82:y:2018:i:p3:p:2693-2704 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Kostrova, Alisa & Britz, Wolfgang & Djanibekov, Utkur & Finger, Robert, 2016. "Monte-Carlo Simulation and Stochastic Programming in Real Options Valuation: the Case of Perennial Energy Crop Cultivation," Discussion Papers 250253, University of Bonn, Institute for Food and Resource Economics.
    4. repec:eee:rensus:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:180-196 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Di Corato, Luca & Brady, Mark, 2016. "Passive farming and land development: a real option approach," Working Paper Series 2016:4, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department Economics.

    More about this item


    Real options; Investment analysis; Short-rotation willow coppice; Bioenergy policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy


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