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Thursday 5th October 2023

Socio-economic evaluation of climate change mitigation schemes in forestry

Project contact: Maria Nijnik

Project summary:

Many climate policy initiatives are directed towards woodlands expansion and using wood as a substitute for fossil fuels. However, there is a knowledge gap with respect to the socio-economic aspects of climate change mitigation forest policy schemes. Do forestry projects in Scotland (which/where) offer a socially desirable and a low-cost opportunity for carbon sequestration? Furthermore, there is a great deal of uncertainty on how to define sustainability of afforestation and biomass production in a broadly acceptable way; how to translate sustainability requirements into policy guidelines; how to overcome market limitations of carbon sequestration schemes and where to place biomass production in the general context of land use, where reform of CAP and contemporary agricultural change will likely be influential.

This research focuses on that. It integrates the environmental, social and economic components of sustainability, by analysing in its Module 1, public vision of climate change alleviation through forestry, including by using of wood for bio fuel. This module will clarify which policy alternatives are acceptable and/or desirable to various groups of people and why. Module 2 focuses on the economics of both carbon uptake and storage in trees, and of using wood for biofuel. Subject to availability of resources, it will address the cost-effectiveness of carbon sequestration under different policy scenarios (mitigation schemes), as well as the incentive mechanisms for climate change mitigation forest policy implications. Module 3 will offer some new insights into the connection between climate policy for Scotland and its sustainable rural development strategy. The purpose is to enhance institutional capabilities for climate change mitigation by addressing in addition to economic and social, also environmental factors of sustainable land use (biodiversity and landscape values).

The research will employ quantitative and qualitative methods, including scenario analysis, simulation techniques, and statistical methods and will go back and test the findings with the public by employing participatory approaches and Q-methodology techniques.

This project also forms part of the Cross-Cutting theme on Climate Change. It also links with the European Union COST action ECHOES on Climate Change and Forestry, which from Scotland involves Maria Nijnik and Bill Slee.


Wind turbines pic