Small-scale Forestry

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 321–333 | Cite as

Auctioning the Forest: A Qualitative Approach to Exploring Stakeholder Responses to Bidding on Forest Ecosystem Services

  • Gabrielle E. Roesch-McNally
  • Sergey Rabotyagov
  • John C. Tyndall
  • Gregory Ettl
  • Sándor F. Tóth
Research Paper


The loss of private forestland diminishes ecosystems, including wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration and clean water. The emergence of new markets for forest ecosystem services offers one solution for private forestland financing while having the potential to increase the provision of forest ecosystem services. The general public’s willingness to participate in an auction mechanism for private forest ecosystem services was assessed for a regionally representative forest in Washington State using focus group methodology. The auction mechanism utilizes cost-effective management scenarios that stakeholders competitively bid on. Participants exhibited preferences for specific management plans while also making trade-offs in order to ensure that a plan would win. Participants expressed clear preferences for recreational access, mature forest habitat, aesthetic amenities, and improved water quality. Participants were receptive to the auction mechanism while maintaining concerns over viability, transparency, and local stakeholder involvement.


Auction mechanism Ecosystem services markets Focus groups Recreation Water quality 



We wish to acknowledge United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA) for program funding, the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest and all focus group participants who helped to make this study possible. The authors would also like to thank the reviewers for their insightful feedback.


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Copyright information

© Steve Harrison, John Herbohn 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabrielle E. Roesch-McNally
    • 1
  • Sergey Rabotyagov
    • 2
  • John C. Tyndall
    • 1
  • Gregory Ettl
    • 2
  • Sándor F. Tóth
    • 2
  1. 1.Natural Resource Ecology and ManagementIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Forest SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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