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Accounting for risk in valuing forest carbon offsets

Hurteau, Matthew D. and Hungate, Bruce A. and Koch, George W. (2009) Accounting for risk in valuing forest carbon offsets. Carbon Balance & Management, 4 (1). 5 pp.. ISSN 1750-0680

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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1750-0680-4-1


Background: Forests can sequester carbon dioxide, thereby reducing atmospheric concentrations and slowing global warming. In the U.S., forest carbon stocks have increased as a result of regrowth following land abandonment and in-growth due to fire suppression, and they currently sequester approximately 10% of annual US emissions. This ecosystem service is recognized in greenhouse gas protocols and cap-and-trade mechanisms, yet forest carbon is valued equally regardless of forest type, an approach that fails to account for risk of carbon loss from disturbance. Results: Here we show that incorporating wildfire risk reduces the value of forest carbon depending on the location and condition of the forest. There is a general trend of decreasing riskscaled forest carbon value moving from the northern toward the southern continental U.S. Conclusion: Because disturbance is a major ecological factor influencing long-term carbon storage and is often sensitive to human management, carbon trading mechanisms should account for the reduction in value associated with disturbance risk.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: © 2009 Hurteau et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
ID number or DOI: 10.1186/1750-0680-4-1
Keywords: America; APEC countries; carbon; Carbon dioxide; Carbon sequestration; Developed Countries; ecological disturbance; Ecosystem health; emission; Emissions (Air pollution); Forest Fires (KK130); forests; Forests and Forest Trees (Biology and Ecology) (KK100); Forests & forestry; Global warming; Greenhouse gases; Meteorology and Climate (PP500); Natural Resource Economics (EE115) (New March 2000); North America; OECD Countries; Pollution and Degradation (PP600); Risk Assessment; United States of America; USA; valuation; Wildfires
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Biological Sciences
Research Centers > Merriam-Powell Center for Environmental Research
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2015 23:04
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/554

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