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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

The effect of spatial and temporal planning scale on the trade-off between the financial value and carbon storage in production forests

Bakx, Tristan R. M.; Trubins, Renats; Eggers, Jeannette; Akselsson, Cecilia


Background: Increasing carbon stock in standing forests is one of the proposed ways to mitigate climate change. However, in production forests, this typically would lead to reduced harvesting possibilities and thus reduced financial gain for the forest owners. The size of this reduction should depend on the chosen target level of the carbon stock as well as the required speed of accumulation. Furthermore, due to landscape heterogeneity, the size of the loss can be expected to vary the planning scale, often related to forest property size.Aim: This study aimed to quantify the effects of spatial and temporal planning scales on the severity of the tradeoff between Net Present Value (NPV) of future timber sales and carbon storage in production forests in Southern Sweden.Methods: We used the Heureka PlanWise forest decision support system with built-in Linear Programming functionality. We created six Production Possibility Frontiers (PPF) that quantified the trade-off for the combinations of two scenarios for timing of carbon accumulation (either by 2100 or by 2100 with an intermediate target by 2045) and three spatial management scales (-3300 ha, -300 ha, and -60 ha; 1068 stands).Results: There was a strong effect of temporal scale, with consistently lower NPV, with the same carbon stock in 2100, when the intermediate target for 2045 was applied. The effect of the spatial scale was only apparent between the smallest (50 ha) scale and the larger scales (300 and 3300 ha), with consistently lower NPV with the same carbon stock at the smallest scale.Conclusion: We conclude that both the effects of spatial management scale and temporal scale on the cost of carbon storage should be considered in relation to potential climate policies.


Forest management; Spatial scale; Temporal scale; Trade-off; Carbon storage; Financial value

Published in

Land Use Policy
2023, Volume: 127, article number: 106583