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Special Issue "Ecosystem Services from Forests"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2015)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Damian C. Adams

School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, 355 Newins-Ziegler Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-0410, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 352-846-0872
Interests: nonmarket valuation; economic analysis; ecosystem services; invasive species; policy analysis; choice modeling; survey methods; bioeconomic modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forests provide numerous ecosystem services that support economic output and human health and well-being, including carbon sequestration, water yield, water quality protection, recreation, wildlife habitat, and biodiversity. As a society, we are just beginning to appreciate the vital role that forests can play in providing these services, and their vulnerability to climate change, population growth, invasive species, and other disturbances that threaten to fundamentally and catastrophically alter the flow of these forest-based ecosystem services.

Since privately-held forests dominate the landscape, there is a critical need to motivate forest landowners to manage for ecosystem services. From a policy perspective, this translates into creating programs and policies that align landowner and societal goals (e.g., through incentives) and explicitly consider environmental, economic, and social values. In this context, this Special Issue explores several active areas of inquiry and debate surrounding ecosystem services and effective policy- and decision-making, including: quantifying externalities (positive and negative) associated with forests and forest management; assessing and advancing valuation methods; understanding the structures and functions of forested systems and how these affect ecosystem service values; identifying trade-offs between specific ecosystem functions or services, and between end-users of these services; understanding the relative value of these services spatially and temporally; identifying economically and ecologically sustainable forest management strategies; and understanding forest values under changing conditions. Papers that advance our understanding of forest-based ecosystem services and fit within these broad themes are welcome.

Dr. Damian C. Adams
Guest Editor

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 1800 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

  • ecosystem services,
  • externalities,
  • forest management,
  • forest policy,
  • incentives,
  • private forest,
  • sustainability,
  • socio-ecological,
  • tradeoffs,
  • value

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Anthropogenic Decline of Ecosystem Services Threatens the Integrity of the Unique Hyrcanian (Caspian) Forests in Northern Iran
Forests 2016, 7(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7030051
Received: 30 September 2015 / Revised: 18 January 2016 / Accepted: 1 February 2016 / Published: 27 February 2016
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (10233 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The unique Hyrcanian (Caspian) forests of northern Iran provide vital ecosystem services for local and global communities. We assess the status and trends of key ecosystem services in this region where native forest conversion has accelerated to make way for housing and farm [...] Read more.
The unique Hyrcanian (Caspian) forests of northern Iran provide vital ecosystem services for local and global communities. We assess the status and trends of key ecosystem services in this region where native forest conversion has accelerated to make way for housing and farm development. This is a mountainous forested area that is valuable for both conservation and multiple human uses including recreation and farming. It contains globally significant natural habitats for in situ conservation of biological diversity. A rapid, qualitative, and participatory approach was used including interviews with local households and experts in combination with assessment of land use/cover remote sensing data to identify and map priority ecosystem services in the Geographic Information System (GIS). Based on the interests of the beneficiaries, eight priority services (food production, water supply, raw materials, soil conservation, water regulation, climate regulation, biodiversity, and recreation) were identified and mapped. The results indicate the current typical spatial distribution of the provided services based on structural characteristics of the study landscape and their changing trends through a comparison of past, present and future land use, and land cover. Although food production and recreation have greatly increased in recent decades, the other services, in particular timber production, biodiversity, and water purification and supply are being gradually lost. The results of this study and of others elsewhere should raise awareness of ecosystem service status and trends and the value of examining these since they provide much of the information to inform natural resources policy and decision making. The declines in supply of key ecosystem services both within and outside the protected area are creating conflicts within communities as well as impacting on the integrity of the area and careful planning and conservation is required to provide win-win opportunities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Potential for Hybrid Poplar Riparian Buffers to Provide Ecosystem Services in Three Watersheds with Contrasting Agricultural Land Use
Forests 2016, 7(2), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7020037
Received: 30 October 2015 / Revised: 23 December 2015 / Accepted: 21 January 2016 / Published: 4 February 2016
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (8047 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In temperate agricultural watersheds, the rehabilitation of tree vegetation in degraded riparian zones can provide many ecosystem services. This study evaluated ecosystem service provision potential following the conversion of non-managed herbaceous buffers to hybrid poplar (Populus spp.) buffers in three watersheds (555–771 [...] Read more.
In temperate agricultural watersheds, the rehabilitation of tree vegetation in degraded riparian zones can provide many ecosystem services. This study evaluated ecosystem service provision potential following the conversion of non-managed herbaceous buffers to hybrid poplar (Populus spp.) buffers in three watersheds (555–771 km2) of southern Québec (Canada), with contrasting agricultural land uses. To extrapolate services at the watershed level, total stream length where hybrid poplars could be established was calculated using GIS data from hydrological and land cover maps. After nine years, a 100% replacement of herbaceous buffers by hybrid poplar buffers along farm streams could lead to the production of 5280–76,151 tons of whole tree (stems + branches) biomass, which could heat 0.5–6.5 ha of greenhouses for nine years, with the potential of displacing 2–29 million litres of fuel oil. Alternatively, the production of 3887–56,135 tons of stem biomass (fuelwood) could heat 55–794 new farmhouses or 40–577 old farmhouses for nine years. Producing fuelwood in buffers rather than in farm woodlots could create forest conservation opportunities on 300–4553 ha. Replacing all herbaceous buffers by poplar buffers could provide potential storage of 2984–42,132 t C, 29–442 t N and 3–56 t P in plant biomass, if woody biomass is not harvested. The greatest potential for services provision was in the Pike River watershed where agriculture is the dominant land use. A review of the potential services of poplar buffers is made, and guidelines for managing services and disservices are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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Open AccessArticle An Integer Programming Model to Determine Land Use Trajectories for Optimizing Regionally Integrated Ecosystem Services Delivery
Forests 2016, 7(2), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/f7020033
Received: 3 November 2015 / Revised: 14 January 2016 / Accepted: 20 January 2016 / Published: 30 January 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1782 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
BIOLP is an Integer Programming model based on the Balanced Compromise Programming multi-criteria decision method. The aim of BIOLP is to determine how a set of land use types should be distributed over space and time in order to optimize the multi-dimensional land [...] Read more.
BIOLP is an Integer Programming model based on the Balanced Compromise Programming multi-criteria decision method. The aim of BIOLP is to determine how a set of land use types should be distributed over space and time in order to optimize the multi-dimensional land performance of a region. Trajectories were defined as the succession of specific land use types over 30 years, assuming that land use changes can only occur at fixed intervals of 10 years. A database that represents the Tabacay catchment (Ecuador) as a set of land units with associated performance values was used as the input for BIOLP, which was then executed to determine the trajectories distribution that optimizes regional performance. The sensitivity of BIOLP to uncertainty in the input data, simulated through random variations on the performance values, was also tested. BIOLP showed a relative stability on its results under these conditions of stochastic, restricted changes. Additionally, the behaviour of BIOLP under different settings of its balancing and relative importance parameters was studied. Stronger variations on the outcomes were observed in this case, which indicate the influential role that such parameters play. Finally, the inclusion of performance thresholds in BIOLP was tested through the addition of sample constraints that required some of the criteria at stake to exceed predefined values. The outcome of the optimization exercises makes clear that the phenomenon of trade off between the provisioning service of the land (income) and the regulation and maintenance services (runoff, sediment, SOC) is crucial. BIOLP succeeds in accounting for this complex multi-dimensional phenomenon when determining the optimal spatio-temporal distributions of land use types. Despite this complexity, it is confirmed that the weights attributed to the provisioning or to the regulation and maintenance services are the main determinants for having the land use distributions dominated by either agriculture or forest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Accounting for a Diverse Forest Ownership Structure in Projections of Forest Sustainability Indicators
Forests 2015, 6(11), 4001-4033; https://doi.org/10.3390/f6114001
Received: 12 August 2015 / Revised: 29 October 2015 / Accepted: 30 October 2015 / Published: 6 November 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (1841 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, we assessed the effect of a diverse ownership structure with different management strategies within and between owner categories in long-term projections of economic, ecological and social forest sustainability indicators, representing important ecosystem services, for two contrasting Swedish municipalities. This was [...] Read more.
In this study, we assessed the effect of a diverse ownership structure with different management strategies within and between owner categories in long-term projections of economic, ecological and social forest sustainability indicators, representing important ecosystem services, for two contrasting Swedish municipalities. This was done by comparing two scenarios: one where the diversity of management strategies was accounted for (Diverse) and one where it was not (Simple). The Diverse scenario resulted in a 14% lower total harvested volume for the 100 year period compared to the Simple scenario, which resulted in a higher growing stock and a more favorable development of the ecological indicators. The higher proportion of sparse forests and the lower proportion of clear-felled sites made the Diverse scenario more appropriate for delivering access to common outdoor recreation activities, while the Simple scenario projected more job opportunities. Differences between the scenarios were considerable already in the medium term (after 20 years of simulation). Our results highlight the importance of accounting for the variety of management strategies employed by forest owners in medium- to long-term projections of the development of forest sustainability indicators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Understanding the Factors Influencing Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowner Interest in Supplying Ecosystem Services in Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee
Forests 2015, 6(11), 3985-4000; https://doi.org/10.3390/f6113985
Received: 7 August 2015 / Revised: 5 October 2015 / Accepted: 30 October 2015 / Published: 4 November 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (780 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Private forests provide a range of ecosystem services for society including provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting services. Sustaining the supply of such services depends on the interest of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners in managing their forests for such services. Assessing factors that [...] Read more.
Private forests provide a range of ecosystem services for society including provisioning, regulating, cultural, and supporting services. Sustaining the supply of such services depends on the interest of nonindustrial private forest (NIPF) landowners in managing their forests for such services. Assessing factors that influence NIPF landowner intentions would be useful in identifying potential suppliers of ecosystem services and in designing and implementing outreach and education programs to elevate the interests of less interested landowners. Using data collected from a mail survey of NIPF landowners on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee, this study examined how landowner interest in supplying ecosystem services was influenced by socio-demographic characteristics, economic and market factors, land management objectives, and ownership motivations. To that end, a multivariate logistic regression model was employed to analyze the supply of three types of ecosystem services: carbon storage (regulating service), water quality (provisioning service), and aesthetics (cultural service). Results revealed that landowner interest in managing forests for ecosystem services were significantly related to socio-demographic factors, management and ownership characteristics, and availability of financial incentives. These findings will improve the understanding of the market segment of landowners as related to ecosystem services. The findings may facilitate the development of market protocols and outreach programs that promote payments for ecosystem services in Tennessee and elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Multiple-Use Zoning Model for Private Forest Owners in Agricultural Landscapes: A Case Study
Forests 2015, 6(10), 3614-3664; https://doi.org/10.3390/f6103614
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 28 September 2015 / Accepted: 29 September 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2201 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many small-scale private forest owners increasingly focus their management on amenity functions rather than on wood production functions. This paradigm shift is an opportunity to implement novel forestry management approaches, such as forested land zoning. Forest zoning consists in separating the land base [...] Read more.
Many small-scale private forest owners increasingly focus their management on amenity functions rather than on wood production functions. This paradigm shift is an opportunity to implement novel forestry management approaches, such as forested land zoning. Forest zoning consists in separating the land base in three zones that have different management objectives: (1) conservation zones; (2) ecosystem management zones; and (3) intensive production zones, which locally increase productivity, as a trade off to increase the land area dedicated to conservation and ecosystem management. We evaluate the ecological feasibility of implementing forest zoning on a private property (216 ha) at St-Benoît-du-Lac, Québec (Canada) characterised by agricultural and forest land uses. As a basis for delineating conservation and ecosystem management zones, historical and contemporary data and facts on forest composition and dynamics were reviewed, followed by a detailed forest vegetation analysis of forest communities. Delineating intensive production zones was straightforward, as fertile agricultural field margins located downslope were used to establish multifunctional hybrid poplar buffers. At St-Benoît-du-Lac, a realistic zoning scenario would consist of (1) conservation zones covering 25% of the forestland (37 ha); (2) ecosystem management zones covering 75% of the forestland (113 ha, including restoration zones on 24 ha); and (3) intensive production zones on 2.8 ha. Based on a yield projection of 13 t/ha/year for hybrid poplars, only 5.6% of agricultural field areas would need to be converted into agroforestry systems to allow for the loss of wood production in a conservation zone of 37 ha of forest. Ecosystem services provision following the implementation of zoning would include increased habitat quality, biodiversity protection and enhancement (by restoration of some tree species), carbon storage, non-point source aquatic pollution control, local biomass production for heating, and increased forest economic value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Estimating Values of Carbon Sequestration and Nutrient Recycling in Forests: An Application to the Stockholm-Mälar Region in Sweden
Forests 2015, 6(10), 3594-3613; https://doi.org/10.3390/f6103594
Received: 15 July 2015 / Revised: 24 September 2015 / Accepted: 29 September 2015 / Published: 13 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (829 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We calculate values of forest carbon sequestration and nutrient recycling applying the replacement cost method. The value is then determined as the savings in costs by the replacement of more expensive abatement measures with these ecosystem services in cost-effective climate and nutrient programs. [...] Read more.
We calculate values of forest carbon sequestration and nutrient recycling applying the replacement cost method. The value is then determined as the savings in costs by the replacement of more expensive abatement measures with these ecosystem services in cost-effective climate and nutrient programs. To this end, a dynamic optimization model is constructed, which accounts for uncertainty in sequestration. It is applied to the Stockholm-Mälar region in southeast Sweden where the EU 2050 climate policy for carbon emissions and the Baltic Sea action plan for nutrient discharges are applied. The results show that the value of carbon and nutrient sequestration can correspond to approximately 0.5% of the region’s gross domestic product, or 40% of the value of productive forest. The largest part of this value is attributed to carbon sequestration because of the relative stringency in targets and expensive alternative abatement measures. However, sequestration is uncertain because of stochastic weather conditions, and when society has a large risk aversion for not attaining climate and nutrient targets, the values of the forest carbon and nutrient sequestration can approach zero. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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Open AccessArticle Ecological Conservation, Ecotourism, and Sustainable Management: The Case of Penang National Park
Forests 2015, 6(7), 2345-2370; https://doi.org/10.3390/f6072345
Received: 30 March 2015 / Revised: 22 May 2015 / Accepted: 4 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (7002 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Penang National Park (PNP), as Malaysia’s smallest national park, is one of the few naturally forested areas left on Penang Island, in Peninsular Malaysia. The main objective was to analyse users’ preferences and willingness to pay to enhance improved management of PNP for [...] Read more.
Penang National Park (PNP), as Malaysia’s smallest national park, is one of the few naturally forested areas left on Penang Island, in Peninsular Malaysia. The main objective was to analyse users’ preferences and willingness to pay to enhance improved management of PNP for the dual aim of conservation and recreation. Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to analyse the formation of attitudes towards different aspects of PNP. Results showed that implementing enforcements with rules and regulations and imposing permits and charges on certain activities were the most influential variables of PNPs’ perceptions. The results of a random parameter logit model (RPL) demonstrated that visitors placed the highest value on having adequate information about PNP, and the second-highest value on improvements in the park’s ecological management. The welfare measure for improvement in management of PNP against status quo is estimated at about MYR 9. Results also showed that demand for better conservation and management of PNP is relatively price-inelastic. Simulations of the results showed, under a MYR10 admission fee, that improvement in management would have 96% of market share compared with status quo. This study concluded that visitor entrance fees can and ought to be introduced as a means of financing conservation initiatives and possibly preventing congestion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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Open AccessArticle A New Collaborative Methodology for Assessment and Management of Ecosystem Services
Forests 2015, 6(5), 1696-1720; https://doi.org/10.3390/f6051696
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 29 April 2015 / Accepted: 7 May 2015 / Published: 13 May 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Collaborative management is a new framework to help implement programmes in protected areas. Within this context, the aim of this work is twofold. First, to propose a robust methodology to implement collaborative management focused on ecosystem services. Second, to develop indicators for the [...] Read more.
Collaborative management is a new framework to help implement programmes in protected areas. Within this context, the aim of this work is twofold. First, to propose a robust methodology to implement collaborative management focused on ecosystem services. Second, to develop indicators for the main functions of ecosystem services. Decision makers, technical staff and other stakeholders are included in the process from the beginning, by identifying ecosystem services and eliciting preferences using the AHP method. Qualitative and quantitative data are then integrated into a PROMETHEE based method in order to obtain indicators for provisioning, maintenance and direct to citizens services. This methodology, which has been applied in a forest area, provides a tool for exploiting available technical and social data in a continuous process, as well as providing easy to understand graphical results. This approach also overcomes the difficulties found in prioritizing management objectives in a multiple criteria context with limited resources and facilitates consensus between all of the people involved. The new indicators define an innovative approach to assessing the ecosystem services from the supply perspective and provide basic information to help establish payment systems for environmental services and compensation for natural disasters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Services from Forests)
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