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Valuing and governing forest ecosystem services

The aim of this Programme is to value forest ecosystem services and inform governance and delivery.


The specific objectives of the programme are:

  • To develop and apply methods and tools for valuing the range of forest ecosystem services and benefits, and integrating different values.
  • To understand and advise on the development of mechanisms (including governance arrangements) to deliver forest ecosystem services.
  • To analyse changes in values for forest ecosystem services under a range of scenarios to inform management and woodland creation.

Innovation potential

There is potential for innovation through this research programme to investigate, test and develop innovative new tools, models and methods such as gravity modelling, conductance/resistance distance modelling, participatory action research, and deliberative multi-criteria decision analysis. Working closely with programme 7 on integrating research for policy and practice will provide opportunities to greater integration, knowledge exchange and impact.
Having a greater focus on specific regulating and cultural ecosystem services will contribute to a more comprehensive account of forest ecosystem services.
The programme will provide a spatial valuation method for woodland as current methods make it difficult to make a comparison between different ecosystem services. Identifying how new markets for ecosystem services such as payments for ecosystem services can be established will be critical for the economic growth agenda. Drawing on evidence of behavioural insights and understanding the motivations of a range of key actors will be important in developing mechanisms that might encourage woodland management and creation.

Work Packages

WP1 - Valuing ecosystem services and benefits
The objectives of this work package are to collaborate with others to a)develop improved methods to value the ecosystem services and natural capital of UK TWF, and provide information on the value of rural and urban ecosystem services to help underpin forestry strategies, b) develop improved models and tools that incorporate more robust valuation of the ecosystem services and natural capital, and which could underpin development of ecosystem markets, c) provide advice to policy-makers and practitioners on the benefits of woodland creation to encourage planting ‘the right tree in the right place’ to maximise benefits and minimise risks, and d) ensure that provision of trees is embedded in urban planning so that people can enjoy access to wooded greenspace in the future.

WP2 - Mechanisms for delivering forest ecosystem services and benefits
The objectives of this work package are threefold. Firstly, to better understand how existing ecosystem markets work and the scope for introducing new payments for ecosystem services schemes, as well as understanding other non-market mechanisms. Secondly, to explore how the attitudes and practices of land managers might change with the use of different mechanisms. Thirdly, to explore how insights from behavioural economics and other behavioural theories could be used to develop mechanisms that can be used to encourage woodland resilience and woodland use, and the delivery of a broad range of ecosystem services.

WP3 - Exploring changes in values under varying scenarios and options
The objectives of this work package focus on two elements. Firstly, an exploration of the resilience of woodlands to future change by assessing how ecosystem service values and natural capital stocks of woodlands may be affected by a) direct and indirect drivers through the application of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA) scenarios, and b) different management approaches, e.g. forest diversification through the application of forest management alternatives. Secondly, an exploration of the cost / benefits of different management options with a focus on climate change cost effectiveness, optimal rotation length and multi-objective natural capital.

Last updated: 2nd August 2016