Can boreal afforestation help offset incompressible GHG emissions from Canadian industries?

Boucher, J.-F.; Tremblay, P.; Gaboury, S.; Villeneuve, C.
November 2012
Process Safety & Environmental Protection: Transactions of the I;Nov2012, Vol. 90 Issue 6, p459
Academic Journal
To mitigate greenhouse gas and comply with cap-and-trade systems, the carbon capture and storage (CCS) is presently unviable for industrials dealing with low concentration of CO2 emissions. Alternatively, a new offset opportunity is being analysed in Canada: the afforestation of open woodlands (OWs) in the boreal territory. The results obtained from model simulations (with CBM-CFS3) showed that afforestation of boreal OWs can be a low C-intensive mitigation activity, in particular when understory planting is the chosen silvicultural approach, so that only 8-12 years are needed to reach a net positive C balance with the afforestation of OWs. A large-scale afforestation of boreal OWs - scheduled at 20kha per year during 20 years for a maximum of 400 kha - could provide capped industrials with a significant offset potential, for instance up to nearly 8% offset of all Quebec industrial process emissions (2009 data) after 45 years. In spite of a certain number of issues that can contribute to the uncertainty of the real environmental and economical benefits from the afforestation of OWs as a mitigation activity - most of which issues are discussed in this paper - this study presented a first glimpse at the extent to which the afforestation of boreal OWs in Quebec can provide large emitters with eventually substantial and efficient GHG offset potential, especially those emitters tied up with incompressible GHG emissions.


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