Global CO2 emissions can be reduced by between 5 and 25% by planting forests on farmland, according to PhD graduate Dr Pablo César Benítez-Ponce. He calculated that farmers in Ecuador would be prepared to make the switch from farming to forestry management for somewhere between 30 and 111 dollars.
The Ecuadorian economist calculated what incentives would be needed to convince farmers in his home country to go over from using their land for mixed farming (coffee, rice, maize or dairy cattle) to doing forest management. An offer of 30 dollars was enough to persuade some farmers who currently combine maize and coffee cultivation. The amount required to persuade all farmers in Ecuador to switch to forest management is 111 dollars per hectare.
Benítez-Ponce’s calculations give an indication of what the price of CO2 rights is likely be on the market that will open up once the Kyoto Protocol is signed. Countries will be able to negotiate for CO2 storage sinks, for example in forests, using ‘certificates of emission reduction’.
Dr Pablo Benítez-Ponce received his PhD degree on 11 February. His promotor was Professor of Economics, Henk Folmer. / MW