To meet its international commitment to reduce CO2 output by 7% from the 1990 level by 2012, Canada will rely to some extent on terrestrial carbon uptake, particularly afforestation of marginal agricultural land. The economics of afforestation is examined for northeastern British Columbia and all of Alberta, with harvested wood used either as a replacement for coal in energy production or as a wood-product sink. Some 7 x 106 ha of marginal agricultural land are identified, but very little could reasonably be afforested if wood is used as a substitute for coal. If C is stored in wood products, nearly one third of the land might reasonably be planted to trees; if similar results hold for the rest of Canada, afforestation can be included in the policy arsenal. Before that can be done, however, some serious issues need to be resolved, including problems associated with the mechanism used to transfer land out of agriculture into plantation forest.
van Kooten, G. C., Krcmar-Nozic, E., Stennes, B., & van Gorkom, R. (1999). Economics of fossil fuel substitution and wood product sinks when trees are planted to sequester carbon on agricultural lands in western Canada. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 29(11), 1669-1678. https://doi.org/10.1139/cjfr-29-11-1669