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07 - Economic Value of Ecosystem Service Losses due to Disturbances in Western United States Forests

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XXV IUFRO WORLD CONGRESS

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Abstract

The increasing severity and frequency of environmental climate-driven forest disturbances challenge the sustainable management and protection of forests in the United States (U.S.), and the benefits they provide to individuals and communities. Between 1985 and 2015, about 9 million acres of U.S. forest land was disturbed annually across the country. In the western U.S., wildfires, droughts, timber harvesting, and bark beetle outbreaks are the main drivers of tree mortality, loss of recreation opportunities, and water quantity. An understanding of the environmental and socioeconomic consequences of forest disturbances could improve the management and protection of public lands. This study provides monetized estimates of forest disturbances for two key areas of value: recreation and carbon storage. We estimate the monetary value of these ecosystem services and how they are affected by fire, drought or disease due to climate change. We employ benefit function transfer to estimate the economic value of forest ecosystem services – both market and non-market values. This information may improve stakeholders’ understanding of how heterogeneous forests disturbances affect economic and environmental processes at different temporal and spatial scales. The results could also inform the design of spatially targeted forest conservation, pest control, or fire suppression strategies to generate greater benefits to society.

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© Copyright 2020 Morressier GmbH.
All rights reserved.