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Article

Spatial Distribution of Forest Ecosystem Service Benefits in Germany: A Multiple Benefit-Transfer Model

1
Thuenen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics, Leuschnerstraße 91, 21031 Hamburg, Germany
2
Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency, Bernhard-Nocht-Straße 78, 20359 Hamburg, Germany
3
Institut für Landschaftsarchitektur und Umweltplanung, Technische Universität Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni 145, 10623 Berlin, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Panayotis Dimopoulos
Forests 2021, 12(2), 169; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020169
Received: 30 December 2020 / Revised: 22 January 2021 / Accepted: 29 January 2021 / Published: 1 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Economics of Forest Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity)
We investigate the economic benefits of fundamental forest ecosystem services (FES) for the population in Germany at national level in monetary terms and estimate the spatial distribution of these benefits at county level. Specifically, we consider the benefits of timber production, of global climate protection due to carbon sequestration, of recreation for local residents, and of services for nature protection and landscape amenity. Combining information from official statistics and data from valuation studies that are compatible with economic demand theory, we identify spatial drivers of FES benefits and derive generic valuation functions for each of the services. Using a Geographic Information System, these valuation functions are applied to the conditions in the Local Administrative Units (municipalities), resulting in Benefit Function Transfer estimates for each service and each municipality. Afterwards, results are aggregated to NUTS-3 level (counties) and mapped. Aggregate annual benefits of timber production to society as a whole, of climate protection and of recreation services together exceed the ten billion Euro mark—far more than what is reflected in market statistics. Scenarios illustrate the potential for enhancing nature protection benefits particularly by restoring forest biodiversity, as measured by an avifaunistic indicator. The spatial analysis reveals distinct distributional patterns for each of the services. We conclude that a spatially explicit valuation for an entire country is possible even with limited data, which can help policy makers improve the institutional setting in a way that the protection and use of the forests become more sustainable and efficient. After pointing at several caveats, we finally suggest various possibilities for further model development. View Full-Text
Keywords: forest ecosystem services; economic valuation; benefit function transfer; spatial distribution; simulation model; mapping; timber; climate protection; recreation; biodiversity forest ecosystem services; economic valuation; benefit function transfer; spatial distribution; simulation model; mapping; timber; climate protection; recreation; biodiversity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Elsasser, P.; Altenbrunn, K.; Köthke, M.; Lorenz, M.; Meyerhoff, J. Spatial Distribution of Forest Ecosystem Service Benefits in Germany: A Multiple Benefit-Transfer Model. Forests 2021, 12, 169. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020169

AMA Style

Elsasser P, Altenbrunn K, Köthke M, Lorenz M, Meyerhoff J. Spatial Distribution of Forest Ecosystem Service Benefits in Germany: A Multiple Benefit-Transfer Model. Forests. 2021; 12(2):169. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020169

Chicago/Turabian Style

Elsasser, Peter, Kerstin Altenbrunn, Margret Köthke, Martin Lorenz, and Jürgen Meyerhoff. 2021. "Spatial Distribution of Forest Ecosystem Service Benefits in Germany: A Multiple Benefit-Transfer Model" Forests 12, no. 2: 169. https://doi.org/10.3390/f12020169

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