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An integrated decision support tool for the prediction and evaluation of efficiency, environmental impact and total social cost of forestry projects in the framework of the Kyoto Protocol

  • Muys, Bart; 13609;
  • Deckmyn, G;
  • Moons, Ellen;
  • Quijano, JG;
  • Proost, Stef; 3510;
  • Ceulemans, R;
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2003
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For the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, governments of annex I countries need to develop strategies and policies for greenhouse gas reduction. Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) offer CO2 emission reduction opportunities both home and abroad. Selection of effective forestry opportunities is a complex decision process based on multiple information concerning the greenhouse gas emission reduction potential, the environmental impacts and the cost efficiency of potential scenarios. In this paper, a decision support framework to evaluate forestry scenarios for greenhouse gas emission reduction was presented and tested on five different scenarios (existing and new multifunctional forest in Flanders, Belgium, energy crop with short rotation poplar, energy crop with annually harvested Miscanthus, forest plantation in the subtropics, and conservation of tropical rainforest). The framework is organized as a serial connection of a carbon accounting module, an environmental module and an economic module. Modules include a combination of models and quantitative assessments procedures. In order to make scenarios comparable, the environmental and economic modules calculate their outputs on a functional unit basis of 1 ton CO2 emission reduction. The framework is universally applicable, straightforward, transparent and quantitative. Data requirements are medium, but applicability is fairly complex due to the interdisciplinary character of the tool. Further developments would require automated data flows between models and a user interface. As to the results of the scenario analysis, the only attractive possibility for sinks in Flanders is the establishment of new multifunctional forests. This even yields a net benefit because it replaces the generally loss-making agriculture and, in addition, yields other environmental and recreational benefits. The establishment of bioenergy plantations is a very efficient way of reducing CO2 as far as land occupation and environmental impacts are concerned. However, it also turns out to be a very expensive option. Plantation forestry in the tropics is advantageous when evaluated over longer periods of time. Conservation of tropical forest does not come into consideration as a CDM project, but is nevertheless economically attractive for Flanders since the cost per ton CO2 emission reduction is in the neighborhood of the world market price. / status: published

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