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Promoting forest goods and services that benefit society

Forests provide goods and important services, such as recreation and clean water, not conventionally valued by markets. An EU initiative took up the challenge of assessing their value and options for bringing them to the market.
Promoting forest goods and services that benefit society
Many valuable forest-based goods and ecosystem services are not marketed, and hence are called externalities. They include biodiversity carbon sequestration and erosion protection, as well as recreation. Little is known about who benefits from them, and as externalities they are likely to be under-supplied. Studying these factors may result in more socially optimal provision of these services.

The EU-funded 'New ways to value and market forest externalities' (NEWFOREX) project focused on who benefits from enhanced provision of forest externalities, and how best to achieve an enhanced provision of these.

NEWFOREX focused on five European case studies that are representative of the key differences in forest types and the socioeconomic situation in Europe. A comparative case study was also carried out in Brazil.

A key feature of this project was the very large empirical data collections. A set of data was collected among the general public regarding the value of forest ecosystem services, compiling responses from thousands of Europeans in the case studies. A second large set of data was collected among forest owner and managers regarding their willingness to engage in contracts for ecosystem service provision. This covered eight partner countries.

The empirical data was collected on the basis of careful studies of the case areas. An early report gave detailed descriptions of the role of key externalities in the case study areas, and of the effect of forest management on those externalities. A second project unit reported on methods for modelling and assessing cost provision of forest externalities. Based on the data collected in particular among forest owners, a report was published about the potential of market-based instruments for enhancing the provision of forest-based ecosystem services, again in the case study areas. Several articles and under publication from this work too.

The overall results were compiled as a set of guidelines for policymakers on how to address the value of forest ecosystem services, what to consider when assessing cost of provision, and consequently which market-based methods to use and under what circumstances, as well as the key factors for their successful implementation. It also explained their implications and use in everyday policy and decision making. This was published as two books in the ‘What Can Science Tell Us?’ series .

Numerous dissemination efforts were undertaken in several languages. These included stakeholder engagement and other outreach activities, including targeted seminars and workshops.

It is now easier to promote forest externalities in part thanks to NEWFOREX, by guiding policy makers on to offer forest owners incentives for enhanced provision. By developing new ways to enhance the provision of such forest goods and services we contribute to the well-being of the entire society.

Related information


Forest, forest goods and services, externalities, forest externalities, forest management
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