Canadian Forest Service Publications

Socioeconomic impacts and adaptive responses to climate change: a Canadian forest sector perspective. 2001. Hauer, G.; Williamson, T.B.; Renner, M. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Northern Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta. Information Report NOR-X-373.

Year: 2001

Available from: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 18223

Language: English

Series: Information Report (NoFC - Edmonton)

CFS Availability: Order paper copy (free), PDF (download)

Abstract

The purpose of social science analysis of climate change is to assist policy makers in understanding the expected flows of benefits and costs of policy options over time and to improve our understanding of the human dimensions of the climate change issue. This report deals with socioeconomic criteria for assessment and with the development of methods and approaches for obtaining a better understanding of the socioeconomic impacts and adaptive responses to climate change in Canada's forest sector. Policy makers responding to the climate change issue must deal with many complex issues and unique circumstances. These issues and circumstances also have a bearing on methodologies for undertaking analysis of the future impacts of climate change. Climate change and the effects of climate change on human society spans multiple scales, which leads to the need to consider feedback's and interactions between environmental and human systems, between political systems and between different parts or segments of economies. The implications are that dynamic general or partial equilibrium models integrated with ecosystem response models will be required in order to understand the implications of climate change for land use change, future ecosystem distributions and the supply of timber from Canada's forests. In addition to affecting future timber supply and future commercial forest areas, climate change will influence the benefits Canadians receive from non-market benefits such as outdoor recreation. Currently there is limited analysis of the effects of climate change on non-market values and this area requires more work. Another factor influencing climate change analysis is that the issue spans unusually long time frames for policy analysis and economic analysis. This raises questions about suitable discount rates and accounting for social welfare of future generations. Finally, there is significant uncertainty in long term predictions of climate change and in how the integrated human/biological system will respond over time. Decision analysis, safe minimum standards, precautionary principles and maximin criterion provide some way to incorporate uncertainty into decision making. In terms of integrated assessment models, systematic consideration for the diversity of opinions and results from scientific studies regarding future climate and ecosystems shifts is required.

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