Journal of Forest Economics > Vol 34 > Issue 3-4

Importance of Cross-Sector Interactions When Projecting Forest Carbon across Alternative Socioeconomic Futures

Jason P. H. Jones, RTI International, USA, Justin S. Baker, RTI International, USA, Kemen Austin, RTI International, USA, Greg Latta, University of Idaho, USA, Chrisopher M. Wade, RTI International, USA, Yongxia Cai, RTI International, USA, Lindsay Aramayo-Lipa, RTI International, USA, Robert Beach, RTI International, USA, Sara B. Ohrel, Environmental Protection Agency, USA, Shaun Ragnauth, Environmental Protection Agency, USA, Jared Creason, Environmental Protection Agency, USA, Jeff Cole, Environmental Protection Agency, USA,
Suggested Citation
Jason P. H. Jones, Justin S. Baker, Kemen Austin, Greg Latta, Chrisopher M. Wade, Yongxia Cai, Lindsay Aramayo-Lipa, Robert Beach, Sara B. Ohrel, Shaun Ragnauth, Jared Creason and Jeff Cole (2019), "Importance of Cross-Sector Interactions When Projecting Forest Carbon across Alternative Socioeconomic Futures", Journal of Forest Economics: Vol. 34: No. 3-4, pp 205-231.

Publication Date: 13 Nov 2019
© 2019 J. P. H. Jones, J. S. Baker, K. Austin, G. Latta, C. M. Wade, Y. Cai, L. Aramayo- Lipa, R. Beach, S. B. Ohrel, S. Ragnauth, J. Creason and J. Cole
JEL Codes: Q54Q56Q23Q10
Climate changeSSPForestryAgriculture


Open Access

This is published under the terms of CC-BY.

In this article:
1. Introduction
2. Methods
3. SSP Scenario Construction
4. Results
5. Discussion
6. Conclusion


In recent decades, the carbon sink provided by the U.S. forest sector has offset a sizable portion of domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the future, the magnitude of this sink has important implications not only for projected U.S. net GHG emissions under a reference case but also for the cost of achieving a given mitigation target. The larger the contribution of the forest sector towards reducing net GHG emissions, the less mitigation is needed from other sectors. Conversely, if the forest sector begins to contribute a smaller sink, or even becomes a net source, mitigation requirements from other sectors may need to become more stringent and costlier to achieve economy wide emissions targets. There is acknowledged uncertainty in estimates of the carbon sink provided by the U.S. forest sector, attributable to large ranges in the projections of, among other things, future economic conditions, population growth, policy implementation, and technological advancement. We examined these drivers in the context of an economic model of the agricultural and forestry sectors, to demonstrate the importance of cross-sector interactions on projections of emissions and carbon sequestration. Using this model, we compared detailed scenarios that differ in their assumptions of demand for agriculture and forestry products, trade, rates of (sub)urbanization, and limits on timber harvest on protected lands. We found that a scenario assuming higher demand and more trade for forest products resulted in increased forest growth and larger net GHG sequestration, while a scenario featuring higher agricultural demand, ceteris paribus led to forest land conversion and increased anthropogenic emissions. Importantly, when high demand scenarios are implemented conjunctively, agricultural sector emissions under a high income-growth world with increased livestock-product demand are fully displaced by substantial GHG sequestration from the forest sector with increased forest product demand. This finding highlights the potential limitations of single-sector modeling approaches that ignore important interaction effects between sectors.



Journal of Forest Economics, Volume 34, Issue 3-4 Special issue - State of the art methods to project forest carbon stocks: Articles Overiew
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