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Optimization of continuous cover forestry expansion under the influence of Global warming


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Abstract

Planet Earth faces the problem of global warming. Recent research on the dynamics of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has shown how reductions of global industrial emissions of CO2 can solve a large part of the global warming problem. However, there are more control options available. Our world is covered by large areas of primary (natural) forests that are almost not managed at all. They do not contribute very much to the net absorption of CO2. Parts of these natural forests may be transformed to continuous cover forests, which mean that the absorption of CO2 increases so that the CO2 level in the atmosphere can be further reduced. This transformation can be made without severely damaging the environmental conditions. The analysis in this paper shows how to define an optimization problem with two objectives with different weights in the objective function. These objectives are the economic present value of profits and the utility of the climate. The analysis shows how the optimal transformation of natural forests to managed continuous cover forests is affected by the relative weights of the utility of the climate and of the present value of the profits. If the relative weight of the utility of the climate increases, the optimal area of natural forests that should be transformed to managed continuous cover forests increases. If 600 M hectares are transformed during 60 years, from 2020 until 2080, then the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere can be reduced by 8 ppm until the year 2100.

Keywords

optimization, climate, forest management, continuous cover forestry, differential equations, development, emissions, alternative, concentration, expansion, areas, plantations, increase, absorption, global

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