Marginal Cost of Carbon Abatement through Afforestation of Agricultural Land in the Mississippi Delta

Sequestration of atmospheric carbon in forested lands offsets carbon emissions from other industries. Conversion of private lands, particularly agricultural tracts in marginal areas, to forests can bolster carbon abatement. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers voluntary, incentive-based programs to encourage landowners to adopt production practices with positive environmental outcomes. This policy can be used to increase transition from marginal agricultural land to forests, thereby creating new carbon sinks. We analyze an eleven-county study area in the Mississippi Delta region of Arkansas to determine feasibility for a subsidy focused on carbon abatement through afforestation. This study area is significant for two reasons: the long growing season and humid climate is ideal for fast growing trees such as loblolly pine, and groundwater depletion dynamics factor heavily into future optimal land use patterns. A spatially-explicit optimization model will determine the pattern of land use that maximizes discounted economic returns to landowners and explore responsiveness of optimal land use to government subsidies. The product of this effort, a marginal cost curve for carbon abatement, will assist policymakers in allocating limited resources to programs for greenhouse gas mitigation.

Issue Date:
Jan 17 2018
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
Q15; A24; A25

 Record created 2018-01-17, last modified 2018-01-22

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