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Efficacy of carbon and bioenergy markets in mitigating carbon emissions on reforested lands: A case study from Southern United States

Dwivedi, Puneet, Khanna, Madhu, Sharma, Ajay, Susaeta, Andres
Forest policy and economics 2016 v.67 pp. 1-9
Pinus elliottii, bioenergy, carbon, carbon markets, carbon sequestration, carbon sinks, case studies, certification, coastal plains, electricity, emissions, energy, environmental policy, forestry, forests, landfills, landowners, manufacturing, models, plantations, planting, prices, wood products, Florida, Georgia, United Kingdom
Carbon markets would encourage forest landowners to increase rotation ages of their plantations. Emerging wood-based energy markets would increase prices of small-diameter timber products, thereby encouraging forest landowners to possibly opt for shorter rotation ages. We developed a comprehensive forest carbon model to track four carbon pools (carbon related to silvicultural activities, carbon sequestered on forestlands, carbon sequestered in wood products and wood present in landfills, and avoided carbon emissions) at the stand level to determine efficacy of carbon and bioenergy markets in mitigating carbon emissions with and without any change in rotation ages. Slash pine (Pinus elliottii) – a common species planted across the Coastal Plain of Georgia and Florida was taken as a representative species. We find that an increase in rotation age does not necessarily transform into additional carbon savings relative to some base rotation ages over a planning horizon of 100years. Similarly, a decrease in the rotation age is not necessarily beneficial from carbon perspective either with respect to some base rotation ages. The utilization of all timber products for manufacturing of wood pellets to generate electricity in the United Kingdom maximizes carbon savings without any change in the rotation age. Suitable safeguards need to be incorporated in existing forest and bioenergy certification schemes to ensure efficacy of reforested lands in mitigating carbon emissions. Climate policies should emphasize on a systemic approach to maintain carbon mitigation potential of the forestry sector over time.