Wood provisioning in Mediterranean forests: A bottom-up spatial valuation approach uri icon

abstract

  • The science of ecosystem services has evolved significantly in the last decade following an increase in interest in the understanding and valuation of these services. Forests provide important ecosystem services that supply societal needs, such as timber, but this provision is not free of conflicts derived from the intensive management of forests. A GIS based approach using data from national forest inventories allows us to identify the provision of timber services and to conduct its valuation. The analysis includes a sample of 37,761 plots for 38 commercial tree species in the Spanish Mediterranean region, where we identify sustainable and non-sustainable forests in terms of harvesting intensities and value both the flow of benefits and their net present value. From the analysis we conclude that non-sustainable forests are providing higher economic returns than sustainable forests for most abundant tree species. However, when analysing long term trends, results show that sustainable forests yield higher economic benefits. This latter perspective is preferred when looking at the value of timber as a provisioning service of forests. According to our results, if we wish to encourage sustainability we need to (a) get lower discount rates adopted for the private sector and (b) ensure longer time horizons. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • 2012
  • 2012