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Impacts of Climate Change and Bioenergy Markets on the Profitability of Slash Pine Pulpwood Production in the Southeastern United States
- Susaeta, Andres, Lal, Pankaj
- Forests 2018 v.9 no.10
- Pinus elliottii, bioenergy, biomass, climate change, climatic factors, costs and returns, econometric models, forest growth, forest management, forests, landowners, markets, prediction, profitability, pulpwood, Southeastern United States
- In this study, we assessed the impacts of climate change on the production of pulpwood and biomass for bioenergy, and the profitability of slash pine stands in the Southeastern United States. We employed the 3-PG (Physiological Processes Predicting Growth) model to determine the effects of future climates on forest growth and integrated it with a stand-level economic model to determine their impacts on optimal forest management. We found that the average production of pulpwood increased for all sites by 7.5 m3 ha−1 for all climatic scenarios and productivity conditions. In the case of forest biomass for bioenergy, the average increase was less than 1 Mg ha−1. Considering a payment for forest biomass for bioenergy of $4.2 per green Mg−1, the land expectation values (LEVs), on average, increased by $242.1 ha−1 under extreme climatic conditions and high productivity conditions. However, the increase in LEVs due to payments for biomass for bioenergy was small, accounting for $23 ha−1. We also found that the combined effect of increased site productivity and climate change reduced the optimal harvest age of slash pine. Our results confirm that emerging bioenergy markets coupled with changing climatic conditions can increase the economic returns for landowners.