In this study, we investigate the effects of climate change mitigation and socioeconomic development on global forest resources use. The analysis is based on the Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM), which is a recursive dynamic land-use model. Climate change mitigation and socioeconomic development are included in the model as exogenous parameters taken from the SSP-RCP scenarios, which separate between the shared socioeconomic pathways(“SSPs”) and the representative concentration pathways (“RCPs”). The effect of SSP-RCP scenarios is restricted to factors that are quantitatively documented in the SSP database (economic growth, population growth, bioenergy demand, and carbon prices). Our results indicate that both climate change mitigation and socio-economic development may increase harvest volumes and harvested area considerably in the future. This happens because there are no opportunity costs of using forest area for harvesting in the model. We show that such opportunity costs can be added in the model by considering carbon storage changes between forest types and carbon payments on them. These payments increases woody biomass prices and make woody biomass harvesting for modern bioenergy less profitable mitigation option relative to carbon sequestration in the standing forests. However, the payments do not have much impact on the profitability of woody biomass harvesting for material products and traditional bioenergy. The reason is that energy crops provide a substitute for woody biomass use for modern bioenergy while there are less substitutes available for woody biomass use for material products and traditional bioenergy. Provided that carbon payments can be used as a policy instrument to control impacts of climate change mitigation on harvest volumes and harvested area, an unfavorable future socioeconomic development may cause a greater threat to the world’s forests than climate change mitigation.
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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