Changes in the ecosystem services provided by forests and their economic valuation: a review

  • Cristina Marta-Pedroso
  • Lia Laporta
  • Vânia Proença
  • João C. Azevedo
  • Tiago Domingos


In this chapter we discuss the trends in forest change and the associated drivers, the economic value of forests, the principles and challenges in evaluating the economic value of forests, and the role of valuation in informing decision-making. We address current major forest conservation initiatives at different scales and the mechanisms involved, whether supported by economic valuation or not. Today, 30 % of the world’s forests are designated for productive functions, 24 % for multiple uses, 11.5 % for biodiversity conservation, 8.2 % for protective functions, and 3.7 % for social functions. The remaining 22.6 % are designated for other uses or remain unclassified. Global trends indicate that although the area of intensively managed forest continues to expand, the global extent of conservation and protective forests is also increasing as a result of political efforts to preserve and restore the ecological functions of forests. Forest management practices are potentially better supported by extended cost–benefit analyses that require an economic valuation of the whole array of benefits, whether market or non-market, provided by forests. Although we acknowledge other values and decision-making and support tools, the focus of the chapter is on the economic valuation approach. Our review in this chapter was guided by the goal of updating previous reviews of these topics. We have provided additional evidence that forests contribute to human well-being in many ways, and use the concept of ecosystem services as a building block to better understand, frame, and assess the economic benefits we derive from well-functioning forests.


Ecosystem Service Sustainable Forest Management Cultural Service Economic Valuation Social Surplus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Marta-Pedroso
    • 1
  • Lia Laporta
    • 2
    • 3
  • Vânia Proença
    • 2
  • João C. Azevedo
    • 1
  • Tiago Domingos
    • 2
  1. 1.CIMO—Centro de Investigação de Montanha, Escola Superior Agrária, Instituto Politécnico de BragançaBragançaPortugal
  2. 2.IN+, Center for Innovation, Technology and Policy Research, Environment and Energy Section, DEM, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade Técnica de LisboaLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos GenéticosUniversidade do PortoVairãoPortugal

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