Rehabilitation forestry and carbon market access on high-graded northern hardwood forests

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Rehabilitation forestry and carbon market access on high-graded northern hardwood forests

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Title: Rehabilitation forestry and carbon market access on high-graded northern hardwood forests
Author: Russell-Roy, E. T.; Keeton, W. S.; Pontius, J. A.; Kerchner, C. D.
Abstract: Decades of heavy-cutting and high-grading in the northeastern United States provide an opportunity for rehabilitation and increased carbon stores, yet few studies have examined the feasibility of using carbon markets to restore high-graded forests. We evaluated the effectiveness of rehabilitation on 391 ha of high-graded forest in Vermont, USA. Thirteen silvicultural scenarios were modeled over 100 years using the Forest Vegetation Simulator. Carbon offsets were quantified with the Climate Action Reserve (CAR) and American Carbon Registry (ACR) protocols and evaluated under voluntary and regulatory carbon price assumptions. Results indicate that management scenarios involving no harvest or low-intensity harvest yield the greatest incentives, yet these scenarios include a range of short-term rehabilitation options that provide flexibility for landowners. The choice of protocol also significantly influences results. Although ACR consistently generated more offsets than CAR for the same scenarios (p < 0.05), the protocols yielded similar net present values of US$121-US$256.ha(-1) under high offset price assumptions. These returns are comparable to those generated from timber harvest alone under more intensive management scenarios. While timber will continue to be a primary source of revenue for many landowners, carbon markets may increasingly appeal as a new incentive for restoring high-graded forests.
URI: ./pubpdfs/Russell-Roy_2014_Canadian_Journal_of_Forest_Research.pdf
http://hdl.handle.net/2051/17377
Date: 2014

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