In the context of considering natural capital in decision-making, the ecosystem services concept is steadily increasing in importance. This also holds for the forest sector in Germany. This development calls for a harmonisation of approaches and terms used in the forest sector, as well as being made compatible with the ecosystem services concept and relevant classifications. In Germany, and a number of Central European countries, a common way to assess the multifunctional benefits of forests is the forest function mapping method. Due to the federal multi-level governance system in Germany, each state has its own classification of forest functions and mapping. A first objective of this paper is to align the various forest function categories across German states as a basis to relate them to the ecosystem services concept. Second, this bottom-up approach is combined with a top-down approach, building on the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES). The aim is to develop a harmonised, methodological framework, suitable for accounting forest-related ecosystem services, as a step towards future ecosystem services monitoring and reporting commitments in the forest sector. Finally, the challenges and opportunities of the ecosystem services concept for forest management are discussed and ways forward are elaborated.
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