Presenter Information

Paco DeFrancis, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

30-4-2015 9:00 AM

End Date

30-4-2015 10:55 AM

Project Type

Poster

Description

The global agriculture sector is responsible for close 20% of gross anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emitted since the start of the industrial age. Much of these emissions are attributed to the degradation of soils due to land use change when native ecosystems were converted to agricultural fields. Soil organic carbon (SOC) has been found to decrease in temperate soils when the native (such as a forest or grassland) ecosystem is replace by croplands. The aggregate amount of organic carbon stored in soils globally is estimated be 3.3x the size of the atmospheric carbon pool. Further soil degradation and reduction of SOC could have a drastic implications on the atmosphere and climate. Conversely, increases in SOC rates could allow global soils to act as carbon sinks, mitigating CO2-forced climate change. This paper presents a case study of the costs and benefits of restoring agricultural crop fields to grasslands in the upper Midwest. Parameters that control both benefits (in terms SOC and stored carbon) and costs (cropland rental rates) are spatially controlled for, resulting in a space-series cost-benefit analysis. The research ultimately finds conclusive evidence that space-dependent variables must be accounted for when analyzing the costs of sequestering carbon through restoration of agricultural fields. For example, the model predicts that converting croplands in some counties of Iowa may be 10 times as costly compared with using the same techniques to mitigate GHG in the outer counties of the Dakotas. These results present the first time spatial attributes have been controlled for in cost-benefit analysis of biological carbon sequestration.

Faculty Sponsor

Sahan T. M. Dissanayake

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. Economics Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1753

Included in

Economics Commons

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Apr 30th, 9:00 AM Apr 30th, 10:55 AM

Greenhouse Gas Mitigation through Grassland Restoration in the Upper Midwest, United States: A Spatially-controlled Cost-benefit Analysis

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

The global agriculture sector is responsible for close 20% of gross anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions emitted since the start of the industrial age. Much of these emissions are attributed to the degradation of soils due to land use change when native ecosystems were converted to agricultural fields. Soil organic carbon (SOC) has been found to decrease in temperate soils when the native (such as a forest or grassland) ecosystem is replace by croplands. The aggregate amount of organic carbon stored in soils globally is estimated be 3.3x the size of the atmospheric carbon pool. Further soil degradation and reduction of SOC could have a drastic implications on the atmosphere and climate. Conversely, increases in SOC rates could allow global soils to act as carbon sinks, mitigating CO2-forced climate change. This paper presents a case study of the costs and benefits of restoring agricultural crop fields to grasslands in the upper Midwest. Parameters that control both benefits (in terms SOC and stored carbon) and costs (cropland rental rates) are spatially controlled for, resulting in a space-series cost-benefit analysis. The research ultimately finds conclusive evidence that space-dependent variables must be accounted for when analyzing the costs of sequestering carbon through restoration of agricultural fields. For example, the model predicts that converting croplands in some counties of Iowa may be 10 times as costly compared with using the same techniques to mitigate GHG in the outer counties of the Dakotas. These results present the first time spatial attributes have been controlled for in cost-benefit analysis of biological carbon sequestration.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/120