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  • Cited by 8
  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: December 2010

19 - A sensitivity analysis of forest carbon sequestration

from Part III - Mitigation of greenhouse gases

Summary

Introduction

This paper examines the sensitivity of estimates of both the baseline of carbon in forests and the efficacy of carbon sequestration programs to the supply of land for forests, timber demand, and technology change in forestry. We explore how changes in these parameters affect estimates of the amount of carbon that forests will store in the absence of carbon sequestration programs. We also explore how changes in these parameters will alter how much an efficient carbon sequestration program will store. Although we have previously estimated expected outcomes for the baseline (Sohngen and Sedjo, 2000) and for efficient carbon sequestration programs (Sohngen and Mendelsohn, 2003), the model used for this analysis has been updated from these earlier versions, and this sensitivity analysis is new. Given that the parameters we are exploring in this analysis are highly uncertain, especially at the global level, it is important to see how these adjustments affect the conclusions of earlier studies.

In this study, we follow the definition of an efficient carbon sequestration program established in an earlier paper (Sohngen and Mendelsohn, 2003). We assume that carbon sequestration programs must be embedded in the overall effort to control greenhouse gases. The marginal cost of sequestering carbon in forests should be equated to the marginal cost of sequestering carbon in other resources such as agriculture and the marginal cost of preventing carbon emissions in the energy sector at each moment in time.

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