Ecological and economic impacts of forest policies: interactions across forestry and agriculture
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A linked model of the US forest and agriculture sectors was used to examine the economic and ecological impacts of two forest policies: a minimum harvest age limitation and a reduced public harvest policy. Simulated private responses to both policies indicate that landowners could undertake a range of adjustments to minimize their welfare impacts, but imposition of constraints on the management of existing timber stocks have particularly potent effects. Environmental changes associated with the responses include: (1) impacts on biodiversity trends and wildlife habitat conditions when economic incentives prompt afforestation of cropland in the North and less conversion of hardwood forest types to softwood plantations in the South; (2) age class distributions in all regions are 'shortened', compressing a larger inventory volume into fewer, younger age classes; (3) reductions in the area of the earliest forest successional stages, despite the concentration of inventory in the earlier ages, because of rising timber management intensity in some regions; and (4) sequestered carbon in all parts of the forest system may continue to rise even after total product volumes have begun to fall. Interregional economic impacts include higher prices for private forest land and timber products in the southern US, due to a reduced public harvest policy concentrated in the West.
author list (cited authors)
Alig, R. J., Adams, D. M., & McCarl, B. A.