Date of Award

12-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Natural Resources

Major Professor

Donald G. Hodges

Committee Members

William Park, Joanne Logan, Neelam C. Poudyal

Abstract

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a major global issue because of their effects on climate and the resulting environmental and human impacts. The primary greenhouse gases (GHGs), carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), are emitted into the atmosphere from a myriad of human activities such as energy supply, manufacturing, transportation, commercial and residential buildings, and waste. Additionally, management activities on agricultural and forest lands can influence GHG emissions substantially. Even though GHGs can be released into the air via the sectors mentioned, GHGs, especially CO2, can be removed from ecosystems through certain management activities, enhancing the storage of GHGs in soils, plants, and trees. Examples of GHG emission reduction strategies include decreased land clearing for agriculture, extended rotations for forest stands, afforestation and reforestation, and conservation management strategies for agriculture and forestry. Consequently, addressing GHG emissions and sinks from land use, land-use change, and forest activities (LULUCF) are critical scientific and policy questions. This dissertation examines the issue of LULUCF and the factors affecting GHG emission levels from this sector. The study is separated into three chapters encompassing an analysis of the factors driving GHG emissions from LULUCF on a global and national scale in the first two chapters and the willingness of individuals to pay for reductions in the third chapter. The results indicate that population growth was the major cause of GHG emissions from LULUCF. Policy alternatives are provided to address the emissions and sinks from LULUCF.

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