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Modelling Financially Optimal Afforestation and Forest Management Scenarios Using a Bio-Economic Model

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Scientific Research Publishing, January 2016 - Mary Ryan, Cathal O'Donoghue, Henry Phillips

The expansion of non-industrial private forests (NIPF) in Ireland is unique in the European context in which the almost doubling of forest cover within the last thirty years has taken place largely on farmland.

This is not surprising as Ireland has some of the highest growth rates for conifers in Europe and also has a large proportion of land which is marginal for agriculture but highly productive under forests. However, in recent years, afforestation in Ireland as in many European countries has fallen well short of policy targets.

As the farm afforestation decision essentially involves an inter-temporal land use change, farmers need comprehensive information on forest market returns under different environmental conditions and forest management regimes. This paper describes the systematic development of a cohort forest bio-economic model which ex-amines financially optimal afforestation and management choices.

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