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Prospects for Plantations of Improved Poplars in Alberta: Price Behaviour and Competition for Land Open Access


Other title
land use
land competition
forest prices
time series prices
real options
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Work, James M
Supervisor and department
Luckert, Marty (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Hauer, Grant (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Qiu, Feng ((Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Hauer, Grant (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Luckert, Marty (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Rude, James (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Unterschultz, Jim (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Qiu, Feng (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Agriculture and Resource Economics
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Poplar forestry plantations have the potential for genomic improvements in growth rates and yields. In order to examine the potential for establishing future plantations of improved poplars in Alberta, this thesis seeks to provide an understanding of the price behaviour of poplar outputs, as well as investigate the ability of these plantations to compete for land. To meet these objectives, this thesis presents two studies. The first study investigates the behaviour of the two improved poplar output prices, ethanol and hardwood pulp. Time series techniques are used to assess the process and volatility that characterize the ethanol and hardwood pulp price series. The findings indicate that both price series are best characterized by mean reverting processes around constant averages. In addition, time-varying conditional variances are identified and modelled in each series using generalized autoregressive conditional heteroskedasticity (GARCH) specifications. These time series results are then used to inform price models in the second thesis study. These price models are used to simulate potential futures for improved poplars, which are then incorporated into a real options, land use change model to assess the future land use of poplar plantations in competition with private agriculture. The real options model in this thesis extends previous approaches by including multiple options. The landowner is able to choose the land use, either plantations or agriculture, and poplar output, either hardwood pulp or ethanol. I find that the inclusion of the additional option of choosing the poplar output increases the competitiveness of plantations. Sensitivity analysis suggests that increased ethanol subsidies improve the ability of plantations to compete with agriculture. Moreover, decreases in the starting agriculture land value also result in increased plantation competitiveness only when the multiple option approach is used. The research in this thesis provides an increased understanding to landowners and policy makers regarding the expected future price levels of poplar outputs, as well as the conditions favorable to the establishment of improved poplar plantations.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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