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Climate change mitigation strategies in the forest sector: biophysical impacts and economic implications in British Columbia, Canada

Zhen Xu (), Carolyn E. Smyth, Tony C. Lemprière, Greg J. Rampley and Werner A. Kurz
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Zhen Xu: University of British Columbia
Carolyn E. Smyth: Canadian Forest Service
Tony C. Lemprière: Canadian Forest Service
Greg J. Rampley: Canadian Forest Service
Werner A. Kurz: Canadian Forest Service

Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, 2018, vol. 23, issue 2, No 6, 257-290

Abstract: Abstract Managing forests to increase carbon sequestration or reduce carbon emissions and using wood products and bioenergy to store carbon and substitute for other emission-intensive products and fossil fuel energy have been considered effective ways to tackle climate change in many countries and regions. The objective of this study is to examine the climate change mitigation potential of the forest sector by developing and assessing potential mitigation strategies and portfolios with various goals in British Columbia (BC), Canada. From a systems perspective, mitigation potentials of five individual strategies and their combinations were examined with regionally differentiated implementations of changes. We also calculated cost curves for the strategies and explored socio-economic impacts using an input-output model. Our results showed a wide range of mitigation potentials and that both the magnitude and the timing of mitigation varied across strategies. The greatest mitigation potential was achieved by improving the harvest utilization, shifting the commodity mix to longer-lived wood products, and using harvest residues for bioenergy. The highest cumulative mitigation of 421 MtCO2e for BC was estimated when employing the strategy portfolio that maximized domestic mitigation during 2017–2050, and this would contribute 35% of BC’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target by 2050 at less than $100/tCO2e and provide additional socio-economic benefits. This case study demonstrated the application of an integrated systems approach that tracks carbon stock changes and emissions in forest ecosystems, harvested wood products (HWPs), and the avoidance of emissions through the use of HWPs and is therefore applicable to other countries and regions.

Keywords: Climate change mitigation strategy; Forest sector; Mitigation cost; Socio-economic impact; CBM-CFS3 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1007/s11027-016-9735-7

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