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Journal ArticleDOI

Comparisons of Carbon Pools and Economic Profitability for Managed Ponderosa Pine Stands in Wyoming, USA

05 Nov 2010-Journal of Forestry Research (Northeast Forestry University)-Vol. 21, Iss: 4, pp 482-486

Abstract: A forest carbon (C) sequestration project was conducted to evaluate the economic incentives that would be required by landowners to engage in C trading under different management regimes Costs associated with joint management for C sequestration and timber would be valuable for establishing sound forest C trading systems In this study, we calculated the C yield and amortized value of three Wyoming, ponderosa pine stands The management practices examined were, unmanaged, even-aged (regeneration after clear-cut) and uneven-aged (selectively harvested) Costs and revenues associated with three stands were converted into 2006 real dollars using the all commodity producer price index to facilitate a comparison among the net revenues of three stands Net revenues were annualized using a conservative annual interest rate of 45% Our even-aged stand had the highest annual average C yield of 248 Mg·ha−1·a1, whereas, the uneven-aged stand had the lowest C accumulation (198 Mg·ha−1·a−1) Alternatively, the even-aged stand had the highest amortized net return of $276·ha−1·a−1 and the unmanaged stand had the lowest net return of $64 ·ha−1·a−1 On the plots examined, an annual payment of $22 for each additional Mg of C sequestered would encourage a change from uneven aged management to an unmanaged stand that sequesters additional C, in the absence of transactions costs

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Boise State University
ScholarWorks
Economics Faculty Publications and Presentations Department of Economics
12-1-2010
Comparisons of Carbon Pools and Economic
Pro"tability for Managed Ponderosa Pine Stands in
Wyoming, USA
A. Cha#erjee
University of Wyoming
Sian Mooney
Boise State University
G. F. Vance
University of Wyoming
*is is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. *e +nal publication is available at www.springerlink.com. Copyright restrictions may
apply. DOI: 10.1007/s11676-010-0102-3

This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com. Copyright restrictions may
apply. DOI: 10.1007/s11676-010-0102-3
Comparisons of Carbon Pools and Economic Profitability for Managed
Ponderosa Pine Stands in Wyoming, USA
A. Chatterjee S. Mooney G.F. Vance
Received: 2010-03-18; Accepted: 2010-06-08
© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010
Abstract A forest carbon (C) sequestration project was conducted to
evaluate the economic incentives that would be required by landowners to
engage in C trading under different management regimes. Costs associated
with joint management for C sequestration and timber would be valuable
for establishing sound forest C trading systems. In this study, we calculated
the C yield and amortized value of three Wyoming, ponderosa pine stands.
The management practices examined were, unmanaged, even-aged (regene-
ration after clear-cut) and uneven-aged (selectively harvested). Costs and
revenues associated with three stands were converted into 2006 real dollars
using the all commodity producer price index to facilitate a comparison
among the net revenues of three stands. Net revenues were annualized using
a conservative annual interest rate of 4.5%. Our even-aged stand had the
highest annual average C yield of 2.48 Mha
-1
·a
-1
, whereas, the uneven-
aged stand had the lowest C accumulation (1.98 Mha
-1
·a
-1
). Alternatively,
the even-aged stand had the highest amortized net return of $276·ha
-1
·a
-1
and the unmanaged stand had the lowest net return of $64 ha
-1
a
-1
. On the
The online version is available at http://www.springerlink.com
A. Chatterjee ( )
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Wyoming, Lara-
mie, WY, 82071, USA. phone: 1-541-278-4390; Fax: 1-541-278-4372;
email: forestcarbon@gmail.com;
S. Mooney
Department of Economics, Boise State University, Idaho, 83725, USA
G. F. Vance,
Department of Renewable Resources, University of Wyoming, Lara-
mie, WY, 82071, USA
Responsible editor: Chai Ruihai
plots examined, an annual payment of $22 for each additional Mg of C
sequestered would encourage a change from uneven aged management to
an unmanaged stand that sequesters additional C, in the absence of transac-
tions costs.
Keywords: ponderosa pine, Wyoming, timber harvest, amortized net reve-
nue, carbon sequestration
Introduction
Carbon (C) sequestration is a major ecosystem service that forests
can provide to mitigate climate change (Lippke and Perez-Garcia
2008). Forest land owners can receive additional payments to se-
quester C by creating C credits and selling them in a market such as
the Chicago Climate Exchange (Chicago Climate Exchange 2009)
1
. Under this scenario, land managers would need to decide which
management strategy maximizes the net revenues from the joint
production of timber and C credits (Pohjola and Valsta 2007).
Relatively few studies compared the economics of C sequestration
via stand management practices other than tree planting (Sedjo et
al. 1995). Moreover, due to variation in forest types and manage-
ment practices, there is insufficient information to guide land man-
agers facing a decision about whether or not to change their man-
agement practices to generate C credits (Calderia et al. 2004). This
paper provides a framework and empirical example that can be
used to guide landowners in making decisions about management
changes that sequester additional C with the intention of providing
credits into C markets.
1
Each market for C credits currently has different contract specifications
and administrative rules. A description of each contract design is outside
the scope of this paper.

This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com. Copyright restric-
tions may apply. DOI: 10.1007/s11676-010-0102-3
In the case of forest C management, at least two broad categories
of information must be established for a land owner to assess
whether managing a stand for timber and C will result in higher
profits than managing a stand for timber only. First, the rate of C
sequestration under different management practices needs to be
assessed and second the relative economic costs of each manage-
ment practice must be examined. This information, together with
the prevailing price for C credits, will determine whether a land
owner could profit from establishing practices that result in C cre-
dit payments. In this paper, we studied the economic profitability
and potential of developing C credits using an empirical example
of three ponderosa pine stands - unmanaged, even-aged, and un-
even-aged - located near the Black Hills National Forest, Wyom-
ing.
Methods
In Wyoming, ponderosa pine forests are managed as even-aged
(regeneration cutting), uneven-aged (selective timber harvest), or as
a hybrid, i.e., two or three aged systems and stands that are inter-
mediately managed by thinning and prescribed burning (Sheppard
and Battaglia 2002). For this study, three ponderosa pine stands,
unmanaged, even-aged, and uneven-aged, were selected near the
Black Hills National Forest (44ºN, 104ºW) in northeastern Wyom-
ing. Information regarding stand management activities, timber
yields, sale prices, and input costs for these stands were collected
from personal interviews with state forest land managers. Assump-
tions based on published literature were made where specific data
were unavailable. Detailed accounts of stand management activi-
ties, timber harvesting events, and assumptions for these three
stands are stated in Table 1.
Table 1. Stand history and assumptions for economic analyses of pon-
derosa pine stands.
Stands
Establishment
year
Stand-
age
(2006)
Stand history
Unmanaged
1906
100
*Stand was clear-cut in
2006 with timber yield of
14 MBF· ha
-1
.
Even-aged
1960
46
*1
st
timber harvest 7
MBF ·ha
-1
in 1990
*Pre-commercial thinning
in 1995.
*Firewood sale in 1997
Uneven
aged
1896
110
*Timber sale in 1979
yielding 8.7 MBF · ha
-1
*Prescribed burn in 1980
*Timber sale in 1992
yielding 7.8 MBF · ha
-1
MBF = thousand board feet
For stand C inventory calculations, three replicated 50 × 50 m
plots were established that contained three 50-m transects at 25-m
intervals for soil and plant (dead and alive) sample collection.
Stand age was determined by the average age of old cohorts. Live
tree biomass was measured by the allometric equations developed
for these stands (Tinker et al. submitted). For saplings with a dbh
less than 7.5 cm, different allometric equations based on basal di-
ameter (bd) were used to calculate biomass (Tinker et al. Submit-
ted). Percent cover of all herbaceous species within each subplot
was calculated from twenty-five, 0.25-m
2
quadrats, and their bio-
mass was determined using allometric equations from Turner et al.
(2004). Downed wood biomass was estimated with six 15-m tran-
sects placed perpendicular to each 50-m transect at 10-m intervals
using the planar intercept method. All aboveground biomass com-
ponents were converted to biomass C using a conversion factor of
0.512 (Table 2). Forest floor layers (O
i
and O
e
+O
a
layers) were
sampled by randomly placing 0.25 × 0.25 m quadrats within each
subplot for a total of 15 forest floor samples per stand treatment.
Weight of air-dried forest floor samples were determined and con-
verted to biomass on a per hectare basis. Soil samples were col-
lected from the starting, mid, and end points of each transect at
depths of 0 5, 5 15, 15 30 and 30 60 cm, resulting in 36 samples
per site for a grand total of 108 samples per stand treatment. Per-
cent total C concentration of the finely ground and relatively ho-
mogeneous forest floor, soil and root samples were determined by
dry combustion using an Elementar Vario-Macro CN Analyzer.
The SOC pool for a particular soil depth was calculated using or-
ganic C and soil BD and summed to 60 cm soil depth. Detailed
results of C pool estimates for these stands were presented in Chat-
terjee et al. (2009).
Stand C accumulation was calculated as the sum of current total
stand C pool and C removed during timber harvesting. The C yield
from merchantable wood was calculated using multipliers specific
for ponderosa pine that are presented in Table 2 (Birdsey 1996,
Sampson 2002). Merchantable timber wood was converted to total
plant biomass removed during harvesting. For example, if 4 thou-
sand board feet (MBF) ha
-1
timber is harvested from a stand, then
the amount of timber removed in cubic ft is 4 × 0.1650 × 1000 =
660 cubic ft (18.69 m
3
) of timber, total plant biomass removed
during timber harvesting is 660 × 2.254 = 1488 cubic ft, and re-
moval of C due to harvest is 1488 × 12.14 = 18,064 lb or 8.19 Mg
of C. The annual average accumulation of C (Mg·ha
-1
·a
-1
) of a
stand was calculated by dividing the total C yield by the stand age
at final harvest. For the even-aged stand, the final harvest was as-
sumed to occur at age 75, which is a common rotation length fol-
lowed for even-aged stand management in the Black Hills region
(Sheppard and Battaglia 2002). Additional biomass accumulation
of the even-aged stand during 29 years (2006 2035) was calculated
assuming a mean annual increment of 81.5 cubic ft per hectare
(Boldt et al., 1983). Merchantable timber from the final harvest was

3
This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com. Copyright restric-
tions may apply. DOI: 10.1007/s11676-010-0102-3
calculated using conversion factors presented in Table 2. An esti-
mated price of timber in 2035 was obtained from Haynes (2003).
Table 2. Multipliers for conversion of merchantable wood to total plant
biomass C removed during harvesting specific for ponderosa pine
(adopted from Birdsey, 1996; Sampson, 2002).
To convert
Value/ Conver-
sion factor
A. Merchantable wood (MBF) to Cubic ft (ft
3
)
[MBF (Scribner, small) or thousand board feet]
165
B. Specific Gravity of ponderosa pine wood
0.38
C. Harvested timber volume (ft
3
) to weight (lb)
(B*62.4)
23.71
D. Merchantable wood to total plant biomass
2.254
E. Percent C in plant biomass
0.512
F. Harvested timber volume (ft
-3
) to Biomass C (lb)
(C*D*E)
27.4
G. lb to Megagram (10
6
g)
4.54 × 10
-4
MBF = thousand board feet
All costs and revenues were converted into 2006 real US dollars
using the all commodity producer price index to facilitate a com-
parison between the net revenues generated by the different man-
agement practices. The ($2006) net revenue from each manage-
ment practice was annualized to account for the fact that each prac-
tice occurred over a different time period, using the following for-
mula:
i
i
V
R
n
o
)1(
1
1
(1)
where R = value of annual payment or lifetime amortized value, V
0
= net revenue of each management practice in 2006 dollars, n =
time period of investment, and i = interest rate (assumed to be 4.5%
or 0.045)
2
.
2
The choice of interest rate is an often contested point in financial analysis
and reflects the likely return on investment. A conservative interest rate of
0.045 was chosen for this analysis. A sensitivity analysis was conducted to
examine the impacts of varying the interest rate by up to 3 percentage
points higher. Results showed that this had no effect over the relative rank-
ing of the net revenues over the three plots studied.
In order to calculate the minimum payment required to encour-
age a forest manager to switch to practices that increase C seques-
tration, but might be less profitable than the existing practice, we
need to compare the profitability (net revenue) and C sequestration
potential of each management practice.
3
The minimum payment
required per additional Mg of C sequestered can be calculated as
follows.
4
The opportunity cost per ha of sequestering additional C
equals
a0
where π
0
represents net returns from the existing
management practice and π
a
represents net returns from an alterna-
tive practice.
5
A producer would be expected to consider adopting a
practice that is less profitable but sequesters additional C when
Cp
a0
, where p represents a market price per addi-
tional Mg of C sequestered by the alternative practice and ΔC
represents the additional Mg of C sequestered by the alternative
practice. The potential payment per ha (
Cp
) compensates the
producer for the opportunity cost per ha incurred by changing man-
agement practices. Rearranging this expression results in
p
C
a0
, which shows that the price per Mg C must be
large enough to compensate the producer for the opportunity cost
of sequestering each Mg of C before a producer will change man-
agement practices.
Results and Discussion
The unmanaged stand had the highest live tree C (90.3 Mg·ha
-1
),
followed by even-aged (38.2 Mg·ha
-1
) and uneven-aged (20.5
Mg·ha
-1
) stands (Table 3). Lifetime C storage was determined to be
the highest in the unmanaged stand (248 Mg·ha
-1
) and lowest in the
even-aged stand (194 Mg·ha
-1
) (Table 3). Conversely, annual C
yield from the unmanaged stand (2.48 Mg·ha
-1
·a
-1
) was lower than
the even-aged stand (2.59 Mg·ha
-1
·a
-1
); however, both stands were
3
The contract specifications for determining what management changes
will result in C-credits depend on the market the credits are sold in. Under
the Kyoto market, the concept of additionality is key. Under additionality,
credit is only provided for projects that are different from “business as
usual” i.e. a land manager may change their management practice in a way
they would otherwise not have done in the absence of payments for C-
credits.
4
The discussion implicitly assumes zero transactions costs. In a real life
situation there is often transaction cost associated with any transaction. The
simple framework above can be expanded to account for transactions costs.
A discussion of the effects of accounting for transactions costs can be found
in Mooney et al. (2007, 2004).
5
Consistent with accepted economic practice, we assume that managers
have already chosen the practice that maximizes their net revenue i.e. π
o
>
π
a
.

This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final publication is available at www.springerlink.com. Copyright restric-
tions may apply. DOI: 10.1007/s11676-010-0102-3
greater than the uneven-aged stand (1.98 Mg·ha
-1
·a
-1
). The data
suggest that the annualized C sequestration potential of the three
management practices on the Wyoming sites is ordered as follows:
Uneven aged< unmanaged < even-aged. The even-aged stand had
the highest amortized net revenue ($276·ha
-1
·a
-1
) whereas the un-
even-aged stand and unmanaged stand had amortized net revenues
of $75 and $64·ha
-1
·a
-1
, respectively (Table 4). Of the three studied
stands, the even-aged stand attained both maximum annual C yield
and net revenues (Table 5).
Table 3. Lifetime C yield (Mg·ha
-1
) from tree biomass of three stands under different management practices within ponderosa pine forest
Unmanaged
Even-aged
Uneven-aged
Age/year
C-source
Mg·ha
-1
C
Age/year
C-source
Mg· ha
-1
C
Age/year
C-source
Mg·ha
-1
C
100 (2006)
Live tree
90.3
30 (1990)
Harvest (7 MBF ·ha
-1
)
14.3
65(1961)
Harvest (7.4 MBF·ha
-1
)
15.2
Saplings
0.29
37 (1997)
Firewood (2.5 MBF·ha
-1
)
5.12
83(1979)
Harvest (8.7 MBF·ha
-1
)
17.8
Herbs
0.16
75 (2035)
Live tree
38.2
96(1992)
Harvest (7.8 MBF·ha
-1
)
15.9
Dead tree
7.86
Saplings
0.25
110(2006)
Live tree
20.5
Coarse wood
22.8
Herbs
0.63
Saplings
0.58
Forest floor
17.2
Dead tree
2.26
Herbs
0.79
Soil
85.8
Coarse wood
16.2
Dead tree
0.41
Roots
23.3
Forest floor
18.6
Coarse wood
6.82
Soil
89.2
Forest floor
21.8
Roots
9.57
Soil
104
Roots
14.6
Lifetime C yield (Mg·ha
-1
)
248
194
218
Annual C yield(Mg·ha
-1
a
-1
)
2.48
2.59
1.98
Table 4. Amortized net revenue ($ ha
-1·
a
-1
) and annual average increases in C (Mg ·ha
-1
·a
-1
) for three ponderosa pine stands in Wyoming
Unmanaged
Even-aged
Uneven-aged
Age/year
Activity
Value
($ ha
-1
)
$2006
Age/year
Activity
Value
($ ha
-1
)
$2006
Age/year
Activity
Value
($ ha
-1
)
$2006
0 (1960)
Establishment
0 (1896)
Establishment
30 (1990)
Sale
(7 MBF · ha
-1
)
882
66(1962)
Sale
(7.4 MBF ·ha
-1
)
769
0 (1906)
Establishment
35 (1995)
Thinning
(326)
83 (1979)
Sale
(8.7 MBF ·ha
-1
)
271
100 (2006)
Stand harvest
(14 MBF · ha
-1
)
1613
37 (1997)
Sale
(2.5 MBF · ha
-1
)
143
84 (1980)
Prescribed burn
(136)
100 (2006)
Sell preparation
(215)
75 (2035)
Stand harvest
(18 MBF · ha
-1
)
5206
96 (1992)
Sale
(7.8 MBF ·ha
-1
)
748
Net Revenue ha
-1
1398
5904
1652
Project Lifetime (year)
100
75
110
Amortized Value ($·ha
-1
·a
-1
)
64
276
75
Table 5. Changes in amortized net revenue ($·ha
-1
·a
-1
) and annual average C yield (Mg·ha
-1
·a
-1
) between practices that increase C sequestration
Original management practice
Unmanaged
Uneven-aged
(±) Profit
(±) C
Annual Payment required Mg
C
-1
(±) Profit
(±) C
Annual Payment
required Mg C
-1
Alternative Manage-
ment
Practice
Unmanaged
0
0
-$11
+0.50
-$22
Even-aged
+$212
+0.11
$1927
$201
+0.61
$330

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"Comparisons of Carbon Pools and Eco..." refers methods in this paper

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