Canadian Forest Service Publications

Cost estimates for carbon sequestration from fast growing poplar plantations in Canada. 2004. McKenney, D.W.; Yemshanov, D.; Fox, G.; Ramlal, E. Forest Policy and Economics 6: 345-358.

Year: 2004

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 26892

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Mark record


With concern over human activities affecting the Earth's climate, the potential role of forests to sequester carbon is of growing interest to national policy-makers. Countries like Canada may be able to use afforestation of marginal agricultural lands to sequester carbon in a cost-effective manner. A spatial simulation study that links the biology and economics of afforestation of marginal agricultural lands in Canada using a modified Hartman-type model is presented. The model recognizes wood production and carbon sequestration and calculates ‘break-even’ carbon prices inclusive of an opportunity cost for agricultural production values. A simplified carbon budget-tracking algorithm is used that predicts accumulation of carbon in soil, litter, standing aboveground and root biomass, carbon flows among ecosystem components and CO2 release from biomass and forest products decay. Variables are represented as probability distribution functions. Monte-Carlo simulation and sensitivity analysis techniques are used to help assess both biological and economic uncertainty. Some results are presented for Canada and issues identified to improve model results (e.g. spatially varying estimates of productivity). Substantively more land is attractive for afforestation in Western Canada than Eastern Canada but results are highly sensitive to growth and yield assumptions and spatial variation in agricultural production opportunity costs.