Implications of alternative land conversion cost specifications on projected afforestation potential in the United States

By Yongxia Cai, Christopher Wade, Justin Scott Baker, Jason P. H. Jones, Gregory Scott Latta, Sara Ohrel, Shaun Ragnauth, Jared Creason

The Forestry and Agriculture Sector Optimization Model with Greenhouse Gases
(FASOMGHG) has historically relied on regional average costs of land conversion to simulate land use change across cropland, pasture, rangeland, and forestry. This assumption limits the accuracy of the land conversion estimates by not recognizing spatial heterogeneity in land quality and conversion costs. Using data from Nielsen et al. (2014), we obtained the afforestation cost per county, then estimated nonparametric regional marginal cost functions for land converting land to forestry.

These afforestation costs were then incorporated into FASOMGHG. Three different assumptions for land moving into the forest sector were run; constant average conversion cost, static rising marginal costs and dynamic rising marginal cost, in order to assess the implications of alternative land conversion cost assumptions on key outcomes, such as projected forest area and cropland use, carbon sequestration, and forest product output.

Bibliography

Cai, Y., Wade, C., Baker, J. S., Jones, J. P. H., Latta, G. S., Ohrel, S., ... Creason, J. (2018). Implications of alternative land conversion cost specifications on projected afforestation potential in the United States. (RTI Press Publication No. OP-0057-1811). Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press. https://doi.org/10.3768/rtipress.2018.op.0057.1811

© 2019 RTI International. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors

Yongxia CaiYongxia Cai, PhD, RTI International

Christopher WadeChristopher M. Wade, MS, RTI International

Justin Scott BakerJustin S. Baker, PhD, RTI International

Jason P. H. JonesJason P. H. Jones, PhD, RTI International

Gregory Scott LattaGregory Latta, PhD, University of Idaho

Sara OhrelSara B. Ohrel, MEM, US Environmental Protection Agency

Shaun RagnauthShaun A. Ragnauth, MS, US Environmental Protection Agency

Jared CreasonJared R. Creason, PhD, US Environmental Protection Agency

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