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Special Issue "Integrating Ecosystem Services into Valuation and Forest Management Decisions"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecology and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 July 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Professor Luis Díaz-Balteiro

Research Group “Economics for a Sustainable Environment”, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, ETS Ingeniería de Montes, Forestal y del Medio Natural, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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Guest Editor
Dr. Mario Soliño

National Institute for Agriculture & Food Research & Technology (INIA), Forest Research Centre (CIFOR), Ctra. de La Coruña km. 7,5, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known that forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including provisioning services (wood, firewood, fruits, etc.), cultural services (recreation, knowledge, etc.) and regulating services (water and climate regulation, among others). Therefore, ecosystem services include goods and services, with and without markets. Both the marketed and the non-marketed goods and services should be incorporated into forest management making processes in several ways. Regarding the non-marketed ones, the economic valuation by using revealed and stated preference methods (travel costs, contingent valuation, choice experiments, among others) has showed as useful tools for forest management decision-making. Therefore, forest management requires a good knowledge on both the ecological and economic processes. Despite of these arguments most of the technical and scientific information generated along the last few decades seems not being correctly incorporated into forest decision processes. For all these reasons, this Special Issue encourages studies from several fields, including economic valuation applications, methodological issues, qualitative approaches, decision making issues, etc., in order to promote knowledge on how to incorporate the ecosystem services into valuation and forest management decisions. In addition to this, we would like to receive studies that promote the integration of different ecosystem services into forest management decision making processes through quantitative models, chiefly mathematical programming with single and multiple criteria in deterministic and non-deterministic scenarios.

Prof. Dr. Luis Díaz-Balteiro
Dr. Mario Soliño
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Decision-Making
  • Decision Support Systems
  • Economic Valuation
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Forest Economics
  • Forest Management
  • Multiple Criteria Decision Making Methods
  • Non-Market Valuation
  • Spatial Optimization

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Challenges and Opportunities of Aligning Forest Function Mapping and the Ecosystem Service Concept in Germany
Forests 2018, 9(11), 691; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9110691
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 3 November 2018 / Accepted: 4 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
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Abstract
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
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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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Payment for Targeted Grazing: Integrating Local Shepherds into Wildfire Prevention
Forests 2018, 9(8), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080464
Received: 26 June 2018 / Revised: 26 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 30 July 2018
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Abstract
Wildfires are one of the most prominent risks for Mediterranean forests, reducing the flow of ecosystem services and representing a hazard for infrastructure and human lives. Several wildfire prevention programs in southern Europe are currently incorporating extensive livestock grazers in fire prevention activities
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Wildfires are one of the most prominent risks for Mediterranean forests, reducing the flow of ecosystem services and representing a hazard for infrastructure and human lives. Several wildfire prevention programs in southern Europe are currently incorporating extensive livestock grazers in fire prevention activities to reduce the high costs of mechanical clearance. Among these the Andalusian network of grazed fuel breaks, the so-called RAPCA program, stands out for its dimension and stability over time. RAPCA currently works with 220 local shepherds who, with their guided flocks maintain low biomass levels in almost 6000 ha of fuel breaks in public forests to meet fire prevention standards. This work analyses the institutional design and performance of the RAPCA payment scheme under a payment for environmental services (PES) framework. Results show effectiveness of the payment scheme while efficiency is achieved through savings relative to the mainstream mechanized biomass removal, as well as through reduced information asymmetry. High-level and stable political commitment has been crucial for the emergence and consolidation of RAPCA. Moreover, key intermediaries and sound monitoring practices increased levels of trust amongst involved actors. Beneficial side-effects include social recognition of shepherds’ activities and reduction of their friction with forest managers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using a Marginal Value Approach to Integrate Ecological and Economic Objectives across the Minnesota Landscape
Forests 2018, 9(7), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9070434
Received: 22 June 2018 / Revised: 14 July 2018 / Accepted: 17 July 2018 / Published: 19 July 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5076 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Forest management situations are intrinsically challenging due to the nature of being an interconnected and multi-faceted problem. Integrating ecological, social, and economic objectives is one of the biggest hurdles for forest planners. Often, decisions made with the interest of producing a specific ecosystem
[...] Read more.
Forest management situations are intrinsically challenging due to the nature of being an interconnected and multi-faceted problem. Integrating ecological, social, and economic objectives is one of the biggest hurdles for forest planners. Often, decisions made with the interest of producing a specific ecosystem service may affect the production of other forest ecosystem services. We present a forest management scheduling model that involves multiple ownerships and addresses the joint production of two ecosystem services: timber and upland hardwood old forest. We use a marginal value approach to evaluate old forest. We analyze the impacts of considering different management options, shapes and levels of marginal value functions for old forest, and potential benefits of rewarding the major forest land ownership groups to produce old forest. Results show the downward-sloping marginal value function as a compromise strategy and the benefits of applying it over approaches using either fixed values or targets for addressing ecosystem services. A decomposition model was useful for recognizing important stand-level detail. A broad landscape and multiple ownership approach helped identify interconnections between forest cover types and between landowner groups. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Multi-Functionality of Forest Ecosystems in Northern Mexico
Forests 2018, 9(4), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9040178
Received: 2 March 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
Managing multiple ecosystem services is a complex task that involves special interactions among different resources, services, and stakeholders. Mexican forests have been traditionally managed for the single purpose of obtaining wood, benefiting a small sector of society. In this study, we evaluated the
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Managing multiple ecosystem services is a complex task that involves special interactions among different resources, services, and stakeholders. Mexican forests have been traditionally managed for the single purpose of obtaining wood, benefiting a small sector of society. In this study, we evaluated the interactions among various ecosystem services, namely carbon content, tree diversity, surface water runoff, and the net present value of timber production. We also attempted to determine the most suitable basal area level that best satisfies the management of these services combined. Bivariate correlations, non-linear regression models, and a multiobjective decision-making technique are used to analyze the data in the study. Results indicate that trade-offs exist between surface water runoff and tree basal area. A synergistic relationship, between net present value and carbon content with basal area, was also observed. Tree diversity has a synergistic relationship with basal area in open forests, but a trade-off relationship in denser forests. The most preferred forest management level that satisfies the desired ecosystem services is between 17 and 21 m2/ha of residual basal area. We hope that adopting this multiobjective study can cement collaborative strategies among Mexican resource managers, landowners, environmental groups, and others interested in forest management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Identifying Green Infrastructure as a Basis for an Incentive Mechanism at the Municipality Level in Biscay (Basque Country)
Forests 2018, 9(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9010022
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 2 January 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6316 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The contributions of green infrastructure (GI) to human well-being have been widely recognised; however, pathways for its systematic implementation are missing. Local governments can play a crucial role in the conservation of GI, and a formal recognition of this role in budgeting systems
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The contributions of green infrastructure (GI) to human well-being have been widely recognised; however, pathways for its systematic implementation are missing. Local governments can play a crucial role in the conservation of GI, and a formal recognition of this role in budgeting systems would foster the inclusion of GI in their agenda. The aim of this study is to identify the principal components of GI at the local level to form a basis for a compensatory economic scheme. We identified the principal components of GI based on the mapping of biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision. Furthermore, we analysed the potentiality of an incentive mechanism to promote GI based on the protection status of GI. Finally, an incentive mechanism to promote GI at the municipality level was proposed. The results showed that the GI of Biscay is mainly composed of the natural forests presented in the area, and that 50% of the principal components of the GI are not protected. Furthermore, one third of the protected principal components of the GI only has protection at the municipality level. So, we propose a Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES)-like scheme at the municipality level based on the cover of natural forests, where the objective is the conservation and promotion of the GI. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Ecosystem Services in Rubber Dominated Landscapes in South-East Asia—A Challenge for Biophysical Modeling and Transdisciplinary Valuation
Forests 2017, 8(12), 505; https://doi.org/10.3390/f8120505
Received: 2 November 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 13 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (7052 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The concept of ecosystem services (ESS) has been increasingly recognized for its potential in decision making processes concerning environmental policy. Multidisciplinary projects on rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) cultivation, integrating research on a variety of ESS, have been few and far between. More
[...] Read more.
The concept of ecosystem services (ESS) has been increasingly recognized for its potential in decision making processes concerning environmental policy. Multidisciplinary projects on rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) cultivation, integrating research on a variety of ESS, have been few and far between. More than three years of iterative workshops with regional stakeholders resulted in the development of future land use scenarios for our study area in Xishuangbanna, PR China. We used the InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs) modeling framework to analyze their impact on sediment retention, water yield, habitat quality, and carbon sequestration and developed a model for assessing rubber yields. We investigated the percentage deviations of integrated ESS indices in each scenario, as compared to the initial state of 2015 and as a novelty used different statistical weighting methods to include rankings for the preference of ESS from three contrasting stakeholder groups. The business-as-usual scenario (BAU, continuous rubber expansions) revealed an increase in rubber yields trading off against all other ESS analyzed. Compared to BAU, the measures introduced in the balanced-trade-offs scenario (reforestation, reduced herbicide application, riverine buffer zones, etc.) reduced the total amount of rubber yield but enhanced habitat quality and regulating ESS. The results show that the integrated indices for the provisioning of ESS would be overestimated without the inclusion of the stakeholder groups. We conclude that policy regulations, if properly assessed with spatial models and integrated stakeholder feedback, have the potential to buffer the typical trade-off between agricultural intensification and environmental protection. Full article
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