Land and forestry-based activities could in principle play important roles as climate change mitigation strategies. In practice, however, several questions have been raised about their feasibility. Therefore, understanding the processes and determinants of land use changes is critical. This paper aims to contribute to such understanding in the larger part of a larger project on sustainable development and economic growth. It begins with a dynamic model of land use. The model generates deforestation equations that are estimated from data in Costa Rica on land use, environment, and geography, and, in the case of geo-referenced information, from secondary data. Results suggest that susceptibility to deforestation depends on environmental, geographic and socioeconomic characteristics. Such results may be of use in establishing baselines. The next stage of this work will add variables such as land value in order to permit the analysis of the effects of payments for carbon sequestration. Even in its current state, the model’s results can be linked to carbon storage and accumulation functions in order to quantify the supply of carbon offsets by Costa Rica resulting from changes in land use. [author]
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