Are Protected Areas an Effective Way to Help Mitigate Climate Change? A Comparative Carbon Sequestration Model for Protected Areas and Forestry Management in Nova Scotia, Canada

By Robert Cameron and Peter Bush.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 2, 2016 $US5.00

Protected areas have been proposed as a tool for mitigating climate change through carbon storage and sequestration. A C forest model was developed using carbon yield curves from the US Forest Service. The model was run on existing protected areas comprising 514,000 ha and 245,000 ha of proposed protected areas in Nova Scotia, Canada under three scenarios: 1. complete protected status; 2. forestry management which maximized timber yield; and 3. forestry management with environmental considerations. The model suggested 112 million tonnes of C is stored in existing and proposed protected areas and if protected these forests would sequester C over the next 130 years. If the proposed and existing protected areas were managed for forestry they would become a C source for the next 130 years for both maximum yield and forestry management with environmental considerations scenarios. There was a decrease of about 2 percent and 11 percent in total amount of C stored for forestry management with environmental considerations and maximum yield scenarios respectively. Frequent disturbance from clear-cut harvesting likely increases decomposition of organic matter in the forest which exceeds C sequestration by regrowth. The greatest advantage of protected areas is the greater certainty in land use and in maintaining the current and future C store.

Keywords: Protected Areas, Carbon Sequestration, Forest Management, Clear Cutting, Carbon Budget Model

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2016, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 2, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 646.969KB)).

Robert Cameron

Ecologist, Protected Areas and Ecosystems Branch, Nova Scotia Department of Environment, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Peter Bush

Landscape Ecologist, Forest Division, Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada