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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Project Idea Note: afforestation/restoration of riparian areas along Santa Cruz River, Arizona USA


Riparian forests are crucial ecosystems linking the aquatic and the terrestrial environment. As a result, these riverine systems process large fluxes of energy, nutrients and life at various spatial and temporal scales. This project idea is for the revegetation of approximately 2,634 acres of riparian lands along the middle and lower reaches of the Santa Cruz River in the U.S. Five different properties were chosen for the implementation of this project. The revegetation project would generate a wide array of social and environmental benefits, such as: carbon sequestration, maintenance of water quality and quantity, fish and wildlife habitat enhancement, and aesthetics and human recreation improvement. In terms of sequestered carbon, the project would result in the uptake of as much as 150,000 tons of CO2e from the atmosphere by 2050. Unfortunately, the implementation of this project was considered unfeasible in economic terms. Prices of the verifiable emission reductions (VER) would have to reach levels that are unlikely in the near future. For this project to break-­‐‑even between costs and benefits (IRR = 0%) the price of the negotiated VER would have to reach US$ 67.00. Assuming a current estimate of US$ 7.00 it is unlikely this project can be implemented only using revenues from carbon sequestration.

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