Evolving Integrated Models From Narrower Economic Tools: the Example of Forest Sector Models

Abstract

Integrated simulation models are commonly used to provide insight on the complex functioning of social-ecological systems, often drawing on earlier tools with a narrower focus. Forest sector models (FSM) encompass a set of simulation models originally developed to forecast economic developments in timber markets but now commonly used to analyse climate and environmental policy. In this paper, we document and investigate this evolution through the prism of the inclusion of several non-timber objectives into FSM. We perform a systematic, quantitative survey of the literature followed by a more in-depth narrative review. Results show that a majority of papers in FSM research today focuses on non-timber objectives related to climate change mitigation, namely carbon sequestration and bioenergy production. Habitat conservation, deforestation and the mitigation of disturbances are secondary foci, while aspects such as forest recreation and many regulation services are absent. Non-timber objectives closest to the original targets of FSM, as well as those for which economic values are easier to estimate, have been more deeply integrated to the models, entering the objective function as decision variables. Others objectives are usually modelled as constraints and only considered through their negative economic impacts on the forest sector. Current limits to a deeper inclusion of non-timber objectives include the models’ ability to represent local environmental conditions as well as the formulation of the optimisation problem as a maximisation of economic welfare. Recent research has turned towards the use of model couplings and the development of models at the local scale to overcome these limitations. Challenges for future research comprise extensions to other non-timber objectives, especially cultural services, as well as model calibration at lower spatial scales.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A co-occurrence link is formed between two keywords when they appear in the same publication. The more often keywords appear together, the stronger the link. Keywords and links are then represented on a network where distances between items indicate their level of relatedness, and items are further separated into clusters. Keywords whose spelling varies across publications are merged using a thesaurus.

  2. 2.

    A journal can belong to several categories, e.g., Forest Policy and Economics appears in both the agricultural and biological sciences and economics, econometrics and finance categories.

  3. 3.

    In some cases, all carbon sequestered is subsidized, and the \( {\Delta C}_t^{BAU} \) term equals 0.

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Acknowledgements

The authors want to thank the Climate Economics Chair for financial support. The authors want to thank Pr. Harold Levrel for his attentive help, as well as our anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and suggestions.

Funding

This work was supported by the French Ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation. The BETA contributes to the LabEX ARBRE ANR-11-LABX-0002-01. This research is part of the Agriculture and Forestry research program by the Climate Economics Chair.

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Riviere, M., Caurla, S. & Delacote, P. Evolving Integrated Models From Narrower Economic Tools: the Example of Forest Sector Models. Environ Model Assess 25, 453–469 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10666-020-09706-w

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Keywords

  • Forest sector model
  • Forestry
  • Economics
  • Environmental modelling
  • Ecosystem services
  • Integrated assessment

JEL Codes

  • C61
  • L7
  • Q21
  • Q23
  • Q57