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    Author(s): Matthew D. Hurteau; Bruce A. Hungate; George W. Koch; Malcolm P. North; Gordon R Smith
    Date: 2013
    Source: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(1): 37-42
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    PDF: View PDF  (710.32 KB)

    Description

    A forest carbon (C) offset is a quantifiable unit of C that is commonly developed at the local or regional project scale and is designed to counterbalance anthropogenic C emissions by sequestering C in trees. In capand- trade programs, forest offsets have market value if the sequestered C is additional (more than would have occurred in the absence of the project) and permanent (sequestered within the project boundary for a specified period of time). Local management and ecological context determine the rate of C sequestration, risk of loss, and hence the market value. An understanding of global C dynamics can inform policy but may not be able to effectively price an ecosystem service, such as C sequestration. Appropriate pricing requires the assistance of ecologists to assess C stock abundance and stability over spatial and temporal scales appropriate for the regional market. We use the risk that sequestered C will be emitted as a result of wildfire (reversal risk) to show how ecological context can influence market valuation in offset programs.

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    Citation

    Hurteau, Matthew D.; Hungate, Bruce A.; Koch, George W.; North, Malcolm P.; Smith, Gordon R. 2013. Aligning ecology and markets in the forest carbon cycle. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 11(1): 37-42.

    Keywords

    disturbance, forest carbon, markets

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