New Forests

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 57–70 | Cite as

Costs of delayed reforestation and failure to reforest

  • Daowei ZhangEmail author


Lack of reforestation after timber harvesting or natural disturbances leads to forest loss and degradation in many parts of the world. In this paper, I illustrate that, as the extensive margins of reforestation and timber harvesting differ, some non-reforestation may be justified financially and economically even in places where market and institutional arrangements encourage reforestation. Nonetheless, considering the environmental benefits of reforestation would reduce the potential area of non-reforestation or the gap between the two margins. I further demonstrate with an example the substantial financial costs of delayed reforestation in the U.S. South and explain why reforestation is not taken on some private and public lands. I conclude with comments on reforestation from public policy and ethical perspectives.


Reforestation Non-reforestation Faustmann formula Extensive margin Intensive margin Environmental benefits Land ethic 



I acknowledge comments received from Kas Dumroese, John Stanturf, Mette Wilkie, two anonymous referees an associate editor of this journal, and participants of Reforestation Matters Conference organized by U.S. Forest Service in Portland, Oregon between April 12 and 13, 2017. The usual disclaimer applies.


  1. Borrelli P, Schutt B (2014) Assessment of soil erosion sensitivity and post-timber-harvesting erosion response in a mountain environment of central Italy. Geomorphology 204:412–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chakravarty S, Ghosh SK, Suresh CP, Dey AN, Shukla G (2012) Deforestation: causes, effects and control strategies, in clement. In: Okia A (ed) Global perspectives on sustainable forest management.
  3. Chang SJ (1981) Determinants of the optimal growing stock and cutting cycle for uneven-aged stand. For Sci 27(4):739–744Google Scholar
  4. Douglass FJ, Oliet JA, Aronson J, Bolte A, Bullock JM, Donoso PJ, Landhäusser SM, Madsen P, Peng S, Rey-Benayas JM, Weber JC (2015) Restoring forests: what constitutes success in the twenty-first century? New For 46(5–6):601–614Google Scholar
  5. Ellison D, Morris CE, Locatelli B, Sheil D, Cohen J, Murdiyarso D, Gutierrez V, van Noordwijk M, Creed IF, Pokorny J, Gaveau D, Spracklen DV, Tobella AB, Ilstedt U, Teuling AJ, Gebrehiwot SG, Sands DC, Muys B, Verbist B, Springgay E, Sugandi Y, Sullivan KA (2017) Trees, forests and water: Cool insights for a hot world. Glob Environ Chang 43:51–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. FAO (2010) Global forest resources assessment 2010: main report. FAO Forestry Paper 163. Rome, ItalyGoogle Scholar
  7. FAO (2017) Global forest products facts and figures. Accessed 20 October 2017
  8. Faustmann M (1849) Berechnung des Werthes, welchen Waldboden sowie nach nicht haubare Holzbestande fur die Weldwirtschaft besitze. Allegemeime Forst und Jagd Zeitung 25:441Google Scholar
  9. Hyde WF (2012) The global economics of forestry. RFF Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Imaizumi F, Sidle RC, Kamei KM (2007) Effects of forest harvesting on the occurrence of landslides and debris flows in steep terrain of central Japan. Earth Surf Process Landf 33:827–840CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jacobsen JB (2007) The Regeneration decision: a sequential two-option approach. Can J For Res 37:439–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Keenan RJ, Reams GA, Achard F, de Freitas JV, Granger A, Lindquist E (2015) Dynamics of global forest area: results from the FAO global forest resources assessment 2015. For Ecol Manag 352:9–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Leopold A (1949) A sandy county Alamac. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Li Y, Zhang D (2007) A spatial panel data analysis of tree planting in the U.S. South. South J Appl For 31(4):192–198Google Scholar
  15. Marengo JA, Boares WR, Saulo C, Nicolini M (2004) Climatology of the low-level jet eat of the Andes as derived from NCEP–NCAR reanalysis: characteristics and temporal variability. J Clim 17:2261–2280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Miller C (ed) (2017) Gifford Pinchot: selected writings. The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, p 173Google Scholar
  17. NCREIF (2017) News release: modest timberland performance in 2016 on flat annual appreciation. Accessed 9 September
  18. Odoom FK (1999) Securing land for forest plantations in Ghana. Int For Rev 1(3):182–188Google Scholar
  19. Oswalt SN, Smith WB, Miles PD, Pugh SA (2014) Forest resources of the United States, 2012. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-91. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Washington Office, Washington, DC, p 218. Google Scholar
  20. Pearse PH (1992) Introduction to forest economics. University of British Columbia Press, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  21. Place F, Otsuka K (2000) Population pressure, land tenure, and tree resource management in Uganda. Land Economics 76(2):233–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Robert N, Stenger A (2013) Jointness in production of wood profit, bird species diversity and scenic beauty: implications for the management of regular Oak forests. In: Working paper LEF. Nancy, FranceGoogle Scholar
  23. Samuelson P (1976) Economics of forestry in an evolving society. Econ Inq 14(4):466–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sun X, Zhang D, Butler B (2015) Timberland ownerships and reforestation in the southern United States. For Sci 61(2):336–343Google Scholar
  25. Thorsen BJ (1999) Afforestation as a real option: some policy implications. For Sci 45(2):171–178Google Scholar
  26. Tidwell T (2009) Issues affecting the future of forest conservation in America. Accessed 18 August 2018
  27. Timber-Mart South (2017) Southern stumpage price report. University of GeorgiaGoogle Scholar
  28. Treue T (2001) Politics and economics of tropical high forest management: a case study of Ghana, vol 68. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht Forest Sciences Google Scholar
  29. van Kooten GC, Folmer H (2004) Land and forest economics. Edward Elgar, NorthamptonGoogle Scholar
  30. von Thunen HJ (1966) Von Thunen’s isolated state. In: Wartenberg CM (trans), Peter Hall (ed). Pergamon Press, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  31. Walker R (2004) Theorizing land-cover and land-use change: the case of tropical deforestation. Int Reg Sci Rev 27(3):247–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Yemshanov D, McCarney GR, Hauer G, Lukert MK, Unterschultz J, McKenney DW (2015) A real options-net present value approach to assessing land use change: a case study of afforestation in Canada. For Policy Econ 50:327–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Zhang D (2001) Faustmann in an uncertain policy environment. For Policy Econ 2:203–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhang D (2004) Market, policy incentives, and development of forest plantation resources in the United States. In: Enters T, Durst P (eds) What does it takes? The role of incentives in forest plantation development in Asia and the Pacific. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Asia Pacific Forestry Commission, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  35. Zhang D, Hall R (2018) Timberland assets pricing in the United States. J For Econ. In pressGoogle Scholar
  36. Zhang D, Oweridu E (2007) Land tenure, market and the establishment of forest plantations in Ghana. For Policy Econ 9:602–610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zhang D, Pearse PH (2011) Forest resource economics. UBC Press, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  38. Zinkhan FC (1991) Option pricing and timberland’s land use conversion option. Land Econ 67(3):317–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Forestry & Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Forestry DepartmentFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations