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Projecting global planted forest area developments and the associated impacts on global forest product markets

Nepal, Prakash, Korhonen, Jaana, Prestemon, Jeffrey P., Cubbage, Frederick W.
Journal of environmental management 2019 v.240 pp. 421-430
climate change, commodity markets, econometric models, environmental policy, forest industries, forest products, forests, prices, socioeconomics, world markets
Planted forests are a rising share of total forests globally and an increasingly important source of timber product output, affecting national and global markets. We estimated econometric models of planted forest area by OECD and non-OECD country groups that control for economic, institutional and environmental policies likely to influence future changes in planted forest area. The models are then used to project planted forest area over next 55 years for 180 countries under five alternative scenarios of global socio-economic changes, represented in shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs), adjunct products emerging from the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By embedding key features of the SSP projections into a global forest sector model, we evaluate how planted forests lead to different global forest product market outcomes for each SSP, compared to corresponding outcomes where planted forests are not considered separately. Projected global planted forest area in 2070 ranges from 379 million ha (Mha) for SSP3 (a relatively poor and unequal world) to 475 Mha under SSP5 (a relatively wealthier and more equal world), representing respective increases of 46% and 66% compared to 2015. SSPs with the highest planted forest area increases have the lowest product prices (down by 12% by 2070, compared to SSP5 without planted forests) and higher global forest products production and consumption quantities (by as much as 3.3% by 2070, compared to SSP5 without planted forests). However, production does not increase in all countries by similar amounts, due to changes in relative advantages in production brought about by reduced product prices.