The economic value of sustainable seed and timber harvests of multi-use species: An example using Carapa guianensis

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The future of tropical forests may lie in integrating different revenue sources, such as timber, non-timber products and environmental services, to make standing forests more economically competitive with other land uses such as pasture. Therefore, analytical techniques that couple economic models with ecological understanding are an increasingly important tool to promote forested landscapes. This study explores the potential revenue associated with different harvest strategies of the multipurpose tropical tree Carapa guianensis, a species valued for both the high quality oil extracted from its seeds and its mahogany-like timber. We calculated the equal annual equivalent (EAE), a measure of profitability that annualizes net present value, of revenues and costs associated with simulations of sustainable seed and timber harvests. Our specific objectives were (1) to simulate and compare the revenue from ecologically viable seed and timber harvests of C. guianensis in stochastically varying environments; and (2) to calculate the EAE of revenues and costs from seed and timber harvest under different market prices and different oil extraction methods. We found profits from both timber and seed harvest of C. guianensis for oil production, though only when seed presses were available for oil extraction; manual oil extraction had negative returns due to intensive labor requirements. Combined profits from C. guianensis press-extracted seed oil and timber harvests were economically competitive with other common forest use activities that provide communities with cash profits. Combining extraction of NTFPs with timber may provide continuous income while forests recover volume between timber harvests. Combining this income with harvest of other resources in the context of multi-use management may be an economically viable management strategy in similar forests in Amazonia.

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