This paper aims at analyzing whether existing economic value estimates for forest ecosystem services (ES) might be transferred and used for valuation purposes elsewhere, and whether these data are appropriate for application in forest management. Many forest ES are public goods or positive externalities, and as a consequence they do not have a market price. The valuation of forest ES can provide important information for decision making in forest management and planning as well as in political processes, especially by allowing the comparison of different alternatives and helping set priorities for practical actions, as well as developing financial incentives or support mechanisms. We analyze whether an integrated economic valuation model for forest ES can be developed based on existing published data. To achieve this, we assess to which extent a benefit transfer could be expedient, and which challenges must be addressed. Based on a literature search, we compiled an extensive database of forest ES values. Given that these values vary substantially for the same ES, such a database alone does not seem useful to serve as a decision and management support tool. In addition, the available information mainly focuses on forests as such, and does not include desirable forest composition and management targets. If existing estimates should be transferred and used for forest management decisions, both the background conditions of the primary studies and the indicators used for valuation need to be specified in detail. The most expedient approach in this context seemed to be a valuation function transfer based on a broad set of indicators, offering the possibility to adapt the valuation function to changing background conditions.
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