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

  • Author / Creator
    Work, James M
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2014-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3S17T17R
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
  • Specialization
    • Agriculture and Resource Economics
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Hauer, Grant (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Luckert, Marty (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Qiu, Feng ((Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Qiu, Feng (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Rude, James (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Unterschultz, Jim (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Hauer, Grant (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
    • Luckert, Marty (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)