How Feasible is Carbon Sequestration in Korea? A Study on the Costs of Sequestering Carbon in Forest



In recent years, carbon sequestration has become a more attractive policy in Korea due to the increasing trend of marginal cropland and enhanced public awareness on adverse climate change phenomena. This study aims to calculate the unit costs of carbon sequestration programs through afforestation in Korea and examine the cost-effectiveness of programs. The basis of our simulation is an econometric land use share model, and province level of aggregated panel data are used for model estimation. Four scenarios are considered depending on whether the program includes the harvest and which tree species are planted. The approach of sequestration program is to pay the landowners to convert their lands to forest for a period of time in exchange of fixed annual payment in addition to tree establishment cost. Our results show that the unit cost varies from $122 to $486 per ton of carbon stored depending on the scenarios and payment levels. We found that the carbon sequestration can be a cost-effective mitigation policy in Korea although it is not the least cost option.


Carbon sequestration Land use model Cost of carbon sequestration Carbon flow 


  1. Adams D, Alig R, McCarl B, Callaway JM, Winnett S (1999) Minimum cost strategies for sequestering carbon in forests. Land Econ 75(3): 360–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahn S, Plantinga AJ, Alig RJ (2000) Predicting future forestland area: a comparison of econometric approaches. Forest Sci 46(3): 363–376Google Scholar
  3. Alig R, Adams D, McCarl B, Callaway JM, Winnett S (1997) Assessing effects of mitigation strategies for global climate change with an International Model of the U.S. Forest and Agricultural Sectors. Environ Resour Econ 9: 259–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Greene WH (1993) Econometric analysis, 2nd edn. NJ Prentice-Hall, Inc, Englewood CliffsGoogle Scholar
  5. Hardie IW, Parks PJ (1997) Land use with heterogeneous land quality: an application of an area base model. Am J Agric Econ 79: 299–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1996) Revised IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories: reference manual. IPCC/IGESGoogle Scholar
  7. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2000) Land use, land-use change, and forestry. SR-LULUCF Cambridge University PressGoogle Scholar
  8. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2003) Good practice guidance for land use, land-use change, and forestry. IPCC/IGESGoogle Scholar
  9. Jeong J-H, Kim C, Lee W-K (1998) Soil organic carbon content in forest soils of Korea. J Forest Sci (in Korean) 57: 178–183Google Scholar
  10. Lichtenberg E (1989) Land quality, irrigation development, and cropping patterns in the northern high plains. Am J Agric Econ 71: 187–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Miller DJ, Plantinga AJ (1999) Modeling land use decisions with aggregate data. Am J Agric Econ 81 (February):180–194Google Scholar
  12. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (2001) Current status of agricultural land (in Korean). Research Report. Rural Development Corporation. Ministry of Agriculture and ForestryGoogle Scholar
  13. Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Energy (1998) A study on the strategies in responding to United Nations framework on climate change convention (in Korean). Korea Energy Economics Institute. Research ReportGoogle Scholar
  14. Moulton RJ, Richards KR (1990) Costs of sequestering carbon through tree planting and forest management in the United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service General Technical Report WO-58. Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  15. Parks PJ, Hardie IW (1995) Least-cost forest carbon reserves: cost-effective subsidies to convert marginal agricultural land to forests. Land Econ 71(1): 122–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Plantinga AJ, Mauldin T (2001) A method for estimating the cost of CO2 mitigation through afforestation. Climatic Change 49: 21–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Plantinga AJ, Mauldin T, Miller DJ (1999) An econometric analysis of the costs of sequestering carbon in forests. Am J Agric Econ 81: 812–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Richards KR, Stokes C (2004) A review of forest carbon sequestration cost studies: a dozen years of research. Climatic Change 63: 1–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sedjo R, Solomon A (1989) Climate and forest. In: Rosenberg NJ et al (eds) Greenhouse warming: abatement and adaptation. Resources for the Future, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  20. Slangen L, van Kooten G, van Rie JPPF (1997) Economics of timber plantations on CO2 emissions in the Netherlands. Tijdschrift voor Sociaal Westenschappelijk Onderzoek and de Landbouw 12(4): 318–333Google Scholar
  21. Stavins R (1999) The cost of carbon sequestration: a revealed preference approach. Am J Agric Econ 89: 994–1009Google Scholar
  22. Stavins RN, Jaffe A (1990) Unintended impacts of public investment on private decisions: the depletion of forest wetlands. Am Econ Rev 80: 337–352Google Scholar
  23. van Kooten G, Arthur L, Wilson W (1992) Potential to sequester carbon in Canadian forests: some economic considerations. Can Public Policy XVIII(2): 127–138CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. White H (1980) A heteroskedasticity-consistent covariance matrix estimator and a direct test for heteroskedasticity. Econometrica 48: 817–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Xu D (1995) The potential for reducing atmospheric carbon by large-scale afforestation in China and related cost/benefit analysis. Biomass Bioenerg 8(5): 337–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Statistical Database Used

  1. Korea Forest Service. Yearbook of forest statistics. Available from
  2. Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. Agricultural and forestry statistical yearbook. Available from
  3. Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affair. Cadastral statistics. Available from
  4. National Statistical Office. Farm household economy survey report. Available from
  5. National Statistical Office. The population projections by city and province. Available from

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Korea Environment InstituteSeoulKorea

Personalised recommendations