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A Land Use and Resource Allocation (LURA) modeling system for projecting localized forest CO2 effects of alternative macroeconomic futures

Latta, Gregory S., Baker, Justin S., Ohrel, Sara
Forest policy and economics 2018 v.87 pp. 35-48
USDA Forest Service, biomass, carbon, carbon dioxide, databases, econometric models, economic development, emissions, energy, energy costs, forest industries, forest inventory, forests, fuels, greenhouse gases, land use change, logging, macroeconomics, manufacturing, markets, prices, pulpwood, resource allocation, sawmills, trade, transportation, trees, uncertainty, United States
The United States has recently set ambitious national goals for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions over the coming decades. A portion of these reductions are based on expected sequestration and storage contributions from land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF). Significant uncertainty exists in future forest markets and thus the potential LULUCF contribution to US GHG reduction goals. This study seeks to inform the discussion by modeling US forest GHG accounts per different simulated demand scenarios across a grid of over 130,000 USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) forestland plots over the conterminous United States. This spatially disaggregated future supply is based on empirical yield functions for log volume, biomass and carbon. Demand data is based on a spatial database of over 2300 forest product manufacturing facilities representing 11 intermediate and 13 final solid and pulpwood products. Transportation costs are derived from fuel prices and the locations of FIA plot from which a log is harvested and mill or port destination. Trade between mills in intermediate products such as sawmill residues or planer shavings is also captured within the model formulation. The resulting partial spatial equilibrium model of the US forest sector is solved annually for the period 2015–2035 with demand shifted by energy prices and macroeconomic indicators from the US EIA's Annual Energy Outlook for a Reference, Low Economic Growth, and High Economic Growth case. For each macroeconomic scenario simulated, figures showing historic and scenario-specific live tree carnon emissions and sequestration are generated. Maps of the spatial allocation of both forest harvesting and related carbon fluxes are presented at the National level and detail is given for both regions and ownerships.