Valuation of forest ecosystem services as a means to find optimum forest management options - an example from Germany
Timber production, carbon sequestration and recreational services are among the most relevant forest ecosystem services in Germany. They represent also the three categories provisioning, regulating and cultural services. Four different alternative scenarios have been compared against a baseline: (I) postponing the stands’final harvest age, (II) reducing the forest stock, (III) increasing the share of forest area set aside, and (IV) confining the level of harvesting. - The cost and benefit calculation has been done within a comprehensive framework that accounts for both, value added impacts on downstream industries and impacts on the values of non-market goods and services of forests. Carbon storage in the harvested wood products (HWP) pool is also accounted for. In an overall socio-economic perspective, the results show that none of the alternative forest management scenarios outperforms the baseline scenario, which is modeled rather close to the actual forest management planning. Only at the end of the 40 years period postponing the final harvest age (scenario I) turns out to be more beneficial as does reducing the forests stock (scenario II) at the beginning. Variation of the chosen carbon price as the most uncertain input variable does not change this finding.
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