Socioeconomic implications of climate change with regard to forests and forest management. Contribution of Work Package 3 to the Forest Vulnerability Assessment
Authors: Geoff Cockfield, Tek Maraseni, Laurie Buys, Jeffrey Sommerfeld, Clevo Wilson and Wasantha Athukorala
This review considers the potential direct socio-economic impacts resulting from biophysical impacts of climate change that include, changes in the production of timber, pulp and fuel and the locations of production; changes in the ranges of tree and other forest-utilising species; the intrinsic value of habitat quality and viability; the appearance, and therefore human perceptions, of some forests; carbon sequestration rates; the impact that trees have on soil salinity control; and water filtration services provided by forests. Climate change that contributes to the fragmentation of conservation forests will compound other effects, such as land use change around forests, land clearing and dieback. Unlike the ‘new’ biophysical manifestations of climate change, the socio-economic impacts are relatively familiar, rendering it reasonable to first contemplate the use of familiar institutions and instruments. This study considers one of the potentially most influential policy responses to be incentives for forest-based sequestration. This would help maintain, if not increase the conservation and production forest estates which would in turn generate economic benefits, though the extent of the net benefit depends on what land use is displaced. The results presented in this report are based predominantly on a literature review and a small-scale survey of respondents in towns from timber growing regions (Bombala in the Eden/Gippsland region; and Scottsdale in north-eastern Tasmania) to determine their response to climate change.