The incremental nature of carbon sequestration

The next step in this analysis is to establish the profile over time of the incremental mass of C sequestered by A/R. While markets for carbon credits and offsets deal in metric tonnes of CO2e, the methodology in this section is in terms of tonnes of elemental carbon (C).

The incremental rates of sequestration of one tonne of C by a pine monoculture plantation of hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) and one of mixed rainforest species is shown in Figure 3.6. The growth rates are derived from the carbon toolbox (Australian Government, 2007), which facilitates modeling of carbon sequestration rates for forests under varied Australian conditions.

The profiles of carbon sequestration for A/R in most global locations are expected to be very similar to that in Figure 3.5, with peaks in rates at around 10 to 15 years, and most carbon sequestered by year 85. For example, see Birdsey (1996) and Stavins and Richards (2005) for profiles of carbon sequestered by timber plantations in the United States, and the Australian Government's guide to forest sink planning (Australian Government, 2006b, Figure 1, p. 8).

Note: While the rates of removal of C from the atmosphere per hectare differ between mixed rainforest species and faster-growing monocultures, the marginal rates of sequestration to one tonne of C are almost identical.

Source: Hunt and Baum (2009: Figure 3).

Figure 3.6 Incremental tonnes of C sequestered, to 1 tonne, by a reforestation with a monoculture of hoop pine fAraucaria cunninghamii) and by mixed rainforest species over 100 years

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