Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Economics Research Institute Study Paper




Utah State University Department of Economics

Publication Date



Copyright for this work is held by the author. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user. For more information contact the Institutional Repository Librarian at

First Page


Last Page



There is general agreement that global warming is occurring and that the main contributor to this probably is the buildup of green house gasses, GHG, in the atmosphere. Two main contributors are the utilization of fossil fuels and the deforestation of many regions of the world. This paper examines a number of current issues related to mitigating the global warming problem through forestry. We use discrete time optimal control to model a simplified carbon cycle. The burning of fossil fuels increases atmospheric carbon while the burning of fuel-wood along with its forest source maintain an atmospheric carbon level. The standing timber in the forests is a carbon sink, as are wood buildings and structures, and fossil fuel in the ground. Through time the buildings and structures decay and release carbon to the atmosphere. We also present a numerical example to help illustrate the characteristics of the model. The conclusions are that the forest sector can have a significant impact.