The forest sector in Tanzania offers ample opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and sequester carbon (C) in terrestrial ecosystems. More than 90% of the country's demand for primary energy is obtained from biomass mostly procured unsustainably from natural forests. This study examines the potential to sequester C through expansion of forest plantations aimed at reducing the dependence on natural forest for wood fuel production, as well as increase the country's output of industrial wood from plantations. These were compared ton conservation options in the tropical and miombo ecosystems. Three sequestration options were analyzed, involving the establishment of short rotation and long rotation plantations on about 1.7 × 106 hectares. The short rotation community forestry option has a potential to sequester an equilibrium amount of 197.4 × 106 Mg C by 2024 at a net benefit of $ 79.5 × 106, while yielding a NPV of $ 0.46 Mg-1 C. The long rotation options for softwood and hardwood plantations will reach an equilibrium sequestration of 5.6 and 11.8 × 106 Mg C at a negative NPV of $ 0.60 Mg-1 C and $ 0.32 Mg-1 C. The three options provide cost competitive opportunities for sequestering about 7.5 x 106 Mg C yr-1 while providing desired forest products and easing the pressure on the natural forests in Tanzania. The endowment costs of the sequestration options were all found to be cheaper than the emission avoidance cost for conservation options which had an average cost of $ 1.27 Mg-1 C, rising to $ 7.5 Mg-1 C under some assumptions on vulnerability to encroachment. The estimates shown here may represent the upper bound, because the actual potential will be influenced by market prices for inputs and forest products, land use policy constraints and the structure of global C transactions.
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