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Aligning ecology and markets in the forest carbon cycle

Hurteau, Matthew D and Hungate, Bruce A and Koch, George W and North, Malcolm P and Smith, Gordon R (2013) Aligning ecology and markets in the forest carbon cycle. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 11 (1). pp. 37-42. ISSN 1540-9309


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Publisher’s or external URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/120039


A forest carbon (C) offset is a quantifiable unit of C that is commonly developed at the local or regional project scale and is designed to counterbalance anthropogenic C emissions by sequestering C in trees. In cap-and-trade programs, forest offsets have market value if the sequestered C is additional (more than would have occurred in the absence of the project) and permanent (sequestered within the project boundary for a specified period of time). Local management and ecological context determine the rate of C sequestration, risk of loss, and hence the market value. An understanding of global C dynamics can inform policy but may not be able to effectively price an ecosystem service, such as C sequestration. Appropriate pricing requires the assistance of ecologists to assess C stock abundance and stability over spatial and temporal scales appropriate for the regional market. We use the risk that sequestered C will be emitted as a result of wildfire (reversal risk) to show how ecological context can influence market valuation in offset programs.

Item Type: Article
Publisher’s Statement: © 2013. Copyright by the Ecological Society of America.
ID number or DOI: 10.1890/120039
Keywords: carbon cycle; carbon emissions; offsets; greenhouse gas emissions; emission trading;
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Faculty/Staff
Department/Unit: College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Science > Biological Sciences
Date Deposited: 07 Oct 2015 18:20
URI: http://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/674

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