Abstract for: The impacts of biomass exploitation and carbon valuation on boreal forest management

Over the past decade, the forest industry in Canada's province of Quebec has suffered significant losses in employment, largely due to systemic issues which combined a weaker market for lumber with increasingly limited timber supplies. In response, recent governmental actions have focused on stricter forest management, along with subsidies to promote the lumber industry as well as the harvest of waste biomass for energy. In this context, the goal of this paper is to present an aggregated system dynamics model of the causal links between the traditional forest industry, biomass, carbon valuation, and employment in boreal communities, in order to provide insights into the basic behavior modes of the industry under long-term policy scenarios. Preliminary results from the model show that the cyclic investment patterns caused by lumber demand may limit the effectiveness of employment policies. However, the exploitation of biomass within a carbon pricing framework could potentially be a useful policy to decouple employment from exogenous demand cycles, by channeling carbon revenue for reinvestment in boreal communities. Further work will apply Exploratory System Dynamics Modeling and Analysis (ESDMA) techniques to test policies under parametric and structural uncertainty.