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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Forest Carbon Sequestration, Pathogens and the Costs of the EU's 2050 Climate Targets

Gren, Ing-Marie; Aklilu, Abenezer Zeleke; Elofsson, Katarina


Carbon sequestration is suggested as a low-cost option for climate change mitigation, the functioning of which can be threatened by pathogen infestation. This study calculates the effects of infectious pathogens on the cost of achieving the EU's 2050 climate targets by combining the so-called production function method with the replacement cost method. Pathogens are then assumed to affect carbon sink enhancement through the impact on productivity of forest land, and carbon sequestration is valued as the replacement for costly reductions in emissions from fossil fuels for reaching the EU's 2050 climate targets. To this end, we have constructed a numerical dynamic optimization model with a logistic forest growth function, a simple allometric representation of the spread of pathogens in forests, and reductions in emissions from fossil fuels. The results show that the annual value of forest carbon sequestration ranges between approximately 6.4 and 14.9 billion Euros, depending on the impact and dispersal of pathogens. Relatively large values are obtained for countries with large emissions from fossil fuels, e.g., Germany, France, Spain and Italy, which also face costs of pathogen together with countries with large forest area, such as Romania.


value of forest carbon sink; forest pathogen; climate policy; cost-effectiveness; EU climate targets

Published in

2018, Volume: 9, number: 9, article number: 542
Publisher: MDPI

      SLU Authors

      • Associated SLU-program

        SLU Plant Protection Network

        Sustainable Development Goals

        SDG13 Climate action
        SDG12 Responsible consumption and production

        UKÄ Subject classification

        Forest Science

        Publication identifier


        Permanent link to this page (URI)