Gravitational hazards, such as rockfall, constitute a major risk in mountainous areas, threatening dwellers, goods, and infrastructures, and ultimately posing a challenge to their development. Ecosystem-based solutions for Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR), such as protection forests, can play a significant role in mitigating these risks by integrating the protective structures currently adopted, which are often costly and could entail higher environmental impacts. This study develops an economic model called ASFORESEE (Alpine Space FORest Ecosystem Services Economic Evaluation) to assess the protective service forests provide against rockfall within a standardized framework adopting a precautionary approach. The Replacement Cost approach was adopted, measuring the protection effectiveness, the need for protection of the stakeholders and defining a harmonized method for the design of the defensive structures. Applying the model to a case study in the Italian Alps, the results show the forest has a relevant protective effect able to fulfil the stakeholders’ needs, with a value of 30,440 € ha−1
, equal to 950 € ha−1
, within the 25-year timespan considered. ASFORESEE could feasibly be adopted in other mountainous contexts, due to its harmonized structure reliant on minimal assumptions. Its adoption would foster the acknowledgment of the forest role and to further support the inclusion of Eco-DRR in local risk management plans.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited