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Farmers’ willingness to plant trees on marginal agricultural land in Canada’s grain belt Suchánek, Pavel

Abstract

Climate change has been one of the major global environmental concerns to date. Its seriousness supported by many scientists around the world prompted the vast majority of countries to sign the Kyoto Agreement on climate change. In this document Canada committed to a six percent reduction below 1990 level of carbon dioxide emissions by the 2008-2012 commitment period. Canada has expressed its intention to use its extensive land base as a carbon sink by planting trees. However, no data are available on precisely how much of the land can be converted to trees and at what cost. This thesis uses a survey of farmers in the grain-belt region of Canada to investigate the costs of planting trees on marginal agricultural land and estimate the amount of land available for tree planting. The survey proposes a random bid to each farmer for accepting a particular tree-planting contract. Farmers' answers are analyzed using a bivariate probit model that provides an estimate of the mean willingness to accept for each farmer. Regressing the number of acres made available at this bid on the difference between the bid and the mean willingness to accept results in a supply type of schedule that provides a general estimate of the potential for tree planting in Canada for climate change mitigation purposes. The thesis concludes that Canada can rely on offsetting its emissions of carbon dioxide by means of biological mitigation only to a limited extent due to the high cost of compensation to landowners for their land.

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