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WID-DOW Seminar: A Re-examination of 20th Century Global Forest Carbon Emissions

Event Details

When: April 14, 2014, 4:00 PM


Cost: Free and open to campus.

Contact: 608-316-4401, hstampfli@wisc.edu

WID’s Optimization research group welcomes Brent Sohngen for a WID-DOW presentation. Sohngen is a professor of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics at Ohio State University.

Sohngen will lead a talk titled, “A Re-examination of 20th Century Global Forest Carbon Emissions: Estimates from Global Forest and Land Use Model.”

Brent Sohngen

Brent Sohngen

Accessing the Discovery Building for WID events

Speaker Abstract

A Re-examination of 20th Century Clobal Forest Carbon Emissions: Estimates from Global Forest and Land Use Model

The IPCC suggests that forests have contributed up to 30% of total carbon emissions in the last century, and that they currently contribute between 15-20% of total emissions. Current losses are driven by changes in tropical regions, where land continues to be converted from forests to agriculture. At the same time, recent scientific studies have suggested that temperate forests continue to be a strong carbon sink, sequestering carbon on net each year. These same recent studies suggest that tropical forests are a stronger sink than previously believed. While there seems to be mounting evidence that forests are a stronger sink for carbon than previously believed, it is not clear whether this is driven by climate change, economics or some combination of both. This paper develops a dynamic optimization model of historical forest management and calibrates the model to historical data from around the globe. With the model, we show that forests have likely been a stronger sink over the past century than previously thought. Rather than contributing 30% of global carbon emissions, forests are likely responsible for a far smaller share. Further, forest management, has provided strong incentives for increasing forest stocks globally and sequestering carbon.

About WID-DOW Seminars

The purpose of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery — Doing Optimization at Wisconsin (WID-DOW) seminar series is to provide interesting speakers that discuss an optimization application or explain how optimization may impact their research. Since optimization spans every discipline, the presentation subject varies throughout the semester resulting in a diverse audience for each speaker.