The Economic Impacts of Positive Feedbacks Resulting from Deforestation Dec 01, 2015 By William ShobeC.W. RunyanP. D'Odorico The Economic Impacts of Positive Feedbacks Resulting from Deforestation The Economic Impacts of Positive Feedbacks Resulting from Deforestation Forests can affect environmental conditions in ways that enhance their survival. This effect may contribute to a positive feedback whereby deforestation could degrade environmental conditions and inhibit forest re-establishment. Sudden changes in forest functioning can be attributed to the existence of multiple stable states with one high and one low vegetation state. Multiple factors govern whether a transition between states will occur following deforestation. One such factor is strategic behavior and whether communities or stakeholders with an interest in the forest cooperate to maintain the forest in the fully vegetated state by reducing extraction levels or choose their own extraction rates without considering the collective effect of this behavior. We examine how the effect of a positive feedback and strategic behavior affect the optimal quantity of vegetation, V*. A clear hysteresis exists for logged forests exhibiting a positive feedback whereby an increase in extraction rates leads to a shift to the low vegetation state. An increase in the ecological value of the forest increases V* whereas the opposite is true for an increase in the value of timber. V* is also higher under cooperative conditions than non-cooperative conditions. Notably, accounting for the effect of a positive feedback substantially increases V*. Ecological Economics Areas of focus Environmental Policy William Shobe Professor Shobe splits his time between the Batten School and UVa’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, where he heads up the Center for Economic and Policy Studies. He also teaches a class in environmental economics for the UVa Economics Department. His current research includes emission market and auction design, environmental federalism, improved economic modeling of Virginia’s economy, state economic development incentives, and state economic forecasting. Read full bio C.W. Runyan P. D'Odorico Related Content William Shobe Emerging Issues in Decentralized Resource Governance: Environmental Federalism, Spillovers, and Linked Socio-Ecological Systems Research Federalism as an academic discipline studies how multilevel political jurisdictions interact, both vertically and horizontally. Environmental federalism shifts and expands the focus by concentrating on environmental goods, which are related to ecosystem services. This shift necessarily expands the inquiry to include investigation of how ecosystem services respond to changes in resource management by human governance institutions. From Zero to Hero?: Why Integrated Assessment Modeling of Negative Emissions Technologies Is Hard and How We Can Do Better Research Efforts by the United Nations and others to develop a coordinated global response to climate change rely heavily on an ensemble of Integrated Assessment Models (IAMs) to make projections linking human activities to climate outcomes (IPCC, 2014, 2018). IAMs are coupled models of the global economic and climate systems, first developed to represent fossil fuel emissions from the energy system (Reister and Edmonds, 1977), and later expanded to include land use change and forestry emissions, as well as non-CO2 emissions (Di Vittorio et al., 2014). Shobe: Net-zero emissions by 2050 are achievable, affordable in Va. News In an article for The Virginian-Pilot, Batten's William Shobe writes that with careful planning and policy design, decarbonization in the Commonwealth is achievable by 2050. Earlier this year, Shobe and his colleagues at UVA’s Energy Transition Initiative released the state's first study to analyze the actions needed to reach this goal. Batten Professor Tells Northam That Decarbonization By 2050 is ‘Achievable and Affordable’ News As part of the Virginia Clean Energy Summit on Tuesday, Batten professor William Shobe outlined how it is feasible for Virginia to “decarbonize” the state’s economy by 2050.