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The potential carbon benefit of reforesting Hawai‘i Island non-native grasslands with endemic Acacia koa trees

January 1, 2016

Large areas of forest in the tropics have been cleared and converted to pastureland. Hawai‘i Island is no exception, with over 100,000 ha of historically forested land now dominated by non-native grasses. Passive forest restoration has been unsuccessful because these grasslands tend to persist even after grazers have been removed, yet active outplanting of native tree species can be cost-prohibitive at the landscape scale. It is therefore essential to seek co-benefits of forest restoration to defray costs, such as accredited carbon offsets from increased carbon sequestration. We developed a reforestation scenario for non-native grasslands on Hawai‘i Island by outplanting endemic koa (Acacia koa) trees paid for with carbon offsets via the California Cap and Trade Program. This scenario entails reforesting 53,531 ha of non-native grassland at 2500 ha y-1 over 22 years. We estimated planting costs at \$6,178 ha-1, a total cost of approximately \$331,000,000. We used the Land Use and Carbon Simulator (LUCAS) model to estimate island-wide ecosystem carbon sequestration with and without koa reforestation using 100 Monte Carlo simulations per year over a 60-year period. Income from carbon offsets was set at \$13.57 per ton of CO2 equivalent, the current California Cap and Trade Program carbon market price.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title The potential carbon benefit of reforesting Hawai‘i Island non-native grasslands with endemic Acacia koa trees
DOI
Authors Paul Selmants, Benjamin M. Sleeter, Nicholas Koch, James B. Friday
Publication Type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Abstract or summary
Series Title
Series Number
Index ID 70190262
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Geographic Science Center