Modeling the Economic Potential of Silvopasture in Eastern North Carolina and Northeastern Oregon and Exploring Eligibility of Silvopasture to Enroll in Carbon Markets in the United States Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ww72bg01k

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  • Silvopasture is the planned and managed agroforestry system in which forage, livestock, and trees or shrubs are integrated in order to enhance individual components. Silvopasture has been identified as the most promising agroforestry system for the Pacific Northwest and Southeast United States. However, there have been few studies describing the economic viability of silvopasture in these regions. There are two objectives explored in this study: first, to determine the potential for silvopasture as an economically viable income source to farmers in eastern North Carolina and northeastern Oregon by calculating the Land Expectation Value (LEV), Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), and Annual Expectation Value (AEV), of realistic silvopastoral management regimes, compared to traditionally managed timber or livestock farms; second, to explore whether silvopasture can store as much or more carbon than a traditionally stocked timber plantation, and whether profits from sequestered carbon are possible at this time in the United States. The most profitable silvopasture regimes for eastern North Carolina were cool season grasses combined with loblolly pine at a four percent real discount rate (LEV = $1,025 per acre) and cool season grasses combined with longleaf pine at a four percent real discount rate (LEV = $285 per acre). Traditionally stocked loblolly pine at a four percent real discount rate accrued an LEV of $1,777 per acre, while longleaf pine had negative returns (LEV = -$143 per acre). The cattle standard model for eastern North Carolina accrued an LEV of $2,069 per acre at a four percent real discount rate. The most profitable silvopasture regime for northeast Oregon was native forage establishment with ponderosa pine at a four percent real discount rate (LEV = $274 per acre). Planted ponderosa pine had negative returns for all economic indicators (LEV at four percent real discount rate = -$411). The cattle standard model accrued an LEV of $954 per acre at a four percent real discount rate. Models suggest loblolly pine timber management and cattle management is more profitable than silvopasture management in eastern North Carolina. Additionally, cattle management is more profitable than silvopasture in northeastern Oregon. Longleaf pine and ponderosa pine are not profitable when solely managed for timber, and benefit economically when combined with livestock. There is a growing appreciation for ecosystem services from Silvopasture in the scientific and public community. Tree canopy provides shade and a barrier from adverse weather for livestock herds. Silvopasture can also aid in increased biological diversity, reduced erosion, increased nutrient uptake, and enhanced carbon sequestration. In addition, silvopasture has the potential to store significant amounts of carbon, which benefits society as a whole. Therefore, it is amenable to include the social externalities of profitability in cash flow analyses. Currently there are only voluntary cap and trade markets. The most well-known is arguably the California Air Resources Board (ARB), regulated by the California Environmental Protection Agency. Unfortunately, silvopasture does not qualify at this time for carbon markets in the United States.
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