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Technical, allocative, and total profit efficiency of loblolly pine forests under changing climatic conditions

Susaeta, Andres, Adams, Damian C., Carter, Douglas R., Gonzalez-Benecke, Carlos, Dwivedi, Puneet
Forest policy and economics 2016 v.72 pp. 106-114
Pinus taeda, carbon sequestration, climate change, climatic factors, coniferous forests, ecosystem services, forest ecosystems, greenhouse gas emissions, landowners, site index, society, species diversity, temperature, timber production, trees, Southeastern United States
Forest ecosystem services (ES) provide significant value to society. Without means to adequately capture that value, societal ES values have little influence on landowners' management decisions, leading to inefficiencies in forest-based ES provision. To understand these inefficiencies, we employ data envelopment analysis (DEA) to assess three types of efficiency – technical, allocative and total profit – of planted pine forests using loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) in the Southern US as an example. Field data from n=28 plots are used to assess stand-level efficiency in the production of timber, carbon sequestration, and species richness considering inputs such as site index, age and number of trees, precipitation and temperatures. Given the impacts of climate change on key inputs, we also assess efficiency under climate scenarios representing moderate (RCP4.5) and high (RCP8.5) greenhouse gas emissions pathways. We find that 96% of forest plots are technically efficient in providing timber, carbon sequestration and species richness and 75% are allocative or total profit efficient. With climate change, allocative or total profit efficiency remains similar to the initial conditions, and total profit substantially increases (42.8% and 45.6% for RCP4.5 and RCP8.5). These findings highlight the increasingly important role that forests play in providing socially valuable ES.