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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Opportunity Costs of In Situ Carbon Storage Derived by Multiple-Objective Stand-Level Optimization-Results from Case Studies in Portugal and Germany

Kindu, Mengistie; Bingham, Logan Robert; Borges, Jose G.; Marques, Susete; Nahorna, Olha; Eggers, Jeannette; Knoke, Thomas


Considering in situ carbon storage in forest management has gained momentum under increasing pressure to decarbonize our economies. Here, we present results from case studies in Portugal and Germany showing the opportunity costs of in situ carbon storage derived by multiple-objective optimization. We used a stand-level model to optimize land expectation value under uncertainty as a reference, then derived opportunity costs by including the enhancement of the average carbon storage in aboveground biomass as a second objective. Using the optimal (compromise) solution when considering both objectives simultaneously, we show opportunity costs of EUR 119 (Portugal) and EUR 68 (Germany) per Mg CO2eq. These opportunity costs are higher than conservative, but lower than alternative cost estimates for future damages caused by current CO2 emissions. An important result was that suggested reference solutions in both countries (though only for low discount rates in Portugal) were mixed forests without clearfelling. In Germany, this implicitly elevated carbon storage. Such "closer-to-nature-forest-management" systems were also mostly suggested by the optimization tool when carbon storage was an objective.


climate change; in situ carbon storage; optimization; social costs

Published in

2022, Volume: 11, number: 11, article number: 2085
Publisher: MDPI

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Forest Damage Center

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Climate Research
    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
    Forensic Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)