Deakin University

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Projected social costs of CO 2 emissions from forest losses far exceed the sequestration benefits of forest gains under global change

Version 2 2024-06-04, 10:27
Version 1 2019-06-27, 14:51
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-04, 10:27 authored by R Marcos-Martinez, Brett BryanBrett Bryan, KA Schwabe, JD Connor, EA Law, M Nolan, JJ Sánchez
Forest cover gains and losses occur in response to complex environmental and anthropogenic pressures. Yet the impact of forest gains and losses on the provision of ecosystem services differs markedly. Here we investigate the social costs of potential forest carbon change in Australia's intensive agricultural region from 2015 to 2050 using spatial forest cover change and forest carbon models combined with climate and socioeconomic projections. More than 24,000 possible scenarios were used to identify the trend and lower and upper bounds of forest cover/carbon change. Net deforestation (3.5 million hectares, Mha)under the lower bound forest cover (LBFC)projection was around one-third less than net reforestation (4.8 Mha)under the upper bound forest cover (UBFC)projection by 2030. However, the CO 2 emissions (1.3 Gigatons of CO 2 , GtCO 2 )from deforestation were more than double the sequestration (0.5 GtCO 2 )from reforestation. The social costs (up to 134 billion dollars)of the LBFC were almost five times the benefits of the UBFC (up to 28 billion dollars). The asymmetry decreased over time but persisted to 2050. This shows the markedly different social costs of potential forest carbon losses and gains under global change, evidence which can be useful to policymakers, stakeholders, and practitioners.



Ecosystem Services



Article number

ARTN 100935


1 - 10


Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, Elsevier B.V.