Mary Ryan

B.Agr.Sc. (Forestry), M.Agr.Sc. (Environment), Grad Dip (Public Mmgt), H Dip (Fin. Mmgt)

PhD student NUI Galway

Mary Ryan has significant experience in the forestry sector as a forest manager and as a forestry adviser with Teagasc. In 2007, she began working in the area of forest economics. She was project leader on the COFORD funded FIRMEC project (Forestry in Ireland – Modelling its Economics) and is currently part of the COFORD funded ECOVALUE (Valuing Forest Ecosystems) team. In 2012, Mary joined the Agricultural Economics and Farm Surveys Department of the Rural Economy and Development Programme in Teagasc and is currently involved in environmental economics research.

Economic and behavioural factors affecting afforestation decisions for farmers

The level of annual afforestation in Ireland has fallen well short of government targets for a number of years. The objective of this thesis is to critically analyse both the economic and behavioural factors that motivate farmers to plant forests. We will develop a cost-benefit framework to model the inter-temporal costs and benefits of forestry planting decisions relative to alternative agricultural use. Using these data along with Teagasc National Farm Survey (NFS) data, we will simulate (1) potential forestry income streams for those farms who didn’t plant and (2) potential agricultural income streams for those farms who planted forests and (3) we will develop a farm subsidy microsimulation model of counterfactual subsidies. The actual and counterfactual information can then be used to model farmer behaviour using a conditional logit model where:

utility (U) =f( future income streams, leisure, land value, Z)

Z - taste shifters e.g. demographics, regions, system, off-farm employment

The estimated behavioural model can then be used to simulate the impact of policy reforms.

Keywords afforestation decision, net present value, behaviour, choice modelling


PhD research funding

  • Teagasc Research funding

Head of Economics

Prof Alan Ahearne

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