Forest ecosystem services: Can they pay our way out of deforestation?


R. Nasi; S. Wunder; J.J. Campos

Type of Document:
Research Report


Not Available

Date of Publication:

Place of Publication:
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The ecosystem services provided by forests are vital to humanity and cannot be fully replaced by technology. The services provided by forests are threatened and damaged by human activities, making restoration and protection imperative. Economic valuation of forest services is a useful tool, but has limitations and flaws. It is necessary to provide incentives for resource owners to make conservation more desirable than other alternative

“Recommended points of action:

(a) Strengthen biophysical research on forest services, the loss of which would seem to have the highest economic value potential (e.g. climatic/hydrological changes)

(b) Encourage the use of valuation studies as a tool for revealing current incentives, i.e. the existing distribution of net forest benefits / opportunity costs across stakeholders – rather than claiming valuation to be an instrument to determine “optimal” land use.

(c) In spatial terms, try to identify those critical forest areas where, on the one hand, forest ecosystem services are substantial and, on the other, changed financial incentives could “tip the balance”, i.e. where degradation and deforestation currently are marginally more profitable

options than conserving forests. (d) Based on improved knowledge about biophysical links and pre-existing incentive structures, experiment more with those kinds of compensation schemes that seek to directly influence forest resource managers on the ground, compared to those that work more indirectly through national

stakeholders (forest agencies, timber firms, national governments, etc.).” (Excerpt from Executive Summary)

Additional Bibliographic Information

A discussion paper prepared for the GEF for the Forestry Roundtable to be held in conjunction with the UNFF II, Costa Rica, 11 March 2002

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