UBC Undergraduate Research

The cost of increasing carbon stock in a coastal Douglas-fir stand by extending forest rotation Prilesky, Vojtech


The effect on climate of extending forest rotations is similar to that of afforestation/reforestation projects. This study attempts to model the opportunity cost that would have to be covered by carbon revenues (ie. „carbon cost‟) to make delayed forest harvest economically viable. This is considered for an even-aged Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) stand in coastal British Columbia. Sensitivity of carbon costs to parameters such as site productivity, log prices, discount rates, and risk buffers are examined. Results find that carbon costs for all scenarios rise with greater rotation extensions but eventually “plateau” in the future. Sites of higher productivity have higher carbon costs. Higher log prices also cause carbon costs to rise. Higher discount rates cause carbon costs to rise more quickly with length of rotation extension, but plateau carbon costs do not vary greatly between discount rates. Risk buffers cause carbon costs to rise more than the proportion of the risk buffer. Assuming a market price of $5.00/tCO2e, rotation extensions could only be viable for scenarios with depressed log prices. Short rotation extensions have poor economy of scale and would likely be unable to cover enough of a project‟s fixed costs to make it feasible.

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