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Forest Policy and Economics
Volume 142, 2022, 102781

Forest succession, management and the economy under a changing climate: Coupling economic and forest management models to assess impacts and adaptation options

Van Lantz a, Galen McMonagleb, Chris Hennigarc

Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick, P.O. Box 4400, Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5A3, Canada.

Abstract

Climate change is expected to have significant impacts on forests by affecting the successional dynamics of tree species and the performance of plantations, among others. Research is needed to better understand how these factors will affect forests and economies in different regions, and how we can best adapt. To shed some light on these issues, we couple an economic (Computable General Equilibrium) model with a forest management (Woodstock) model to analyze the potential climate change impacts and adaptation options on timber supply and the economy over the 2015–95 period in a case-study province of New Brunswick, Canada. We estimate that climate change may have relatively large negative impacts on softwood timber supply (at 26% by 2095), softwood forestry & logging sector output quantity (at 12% by 2095), and softwood-dependent forestry manufacturing sector output (ranging from 6% to 27% by 2095). Negative impacts on GDP may be relatively smaller (at up to a 0.33% reduction by 2095). Adapting to these climate-related changes by planting drought-resistant softwood seedlings or hardwood seedlings in place of failed softwood plantations can minimize these negative impacts, and in the latter case, positively impact hardwood timber supply and output. While the former adaptation option is supported using cost-benefit analysis, the latter is not – due to the large incremental costs of growing, planting, and tending hardwood seedlings. Methods developed in this study can be applied in other regions to help guide decision-making around forest management in the face of a changing climate.

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