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Forestland Conversion, Ecosystem Services, and Economic Issues for Policy: A Review

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Overview

The purpose of this report is to use the ecosystem service conceptual framework as a basis for understanding the ecological effects of forest-land conversion, and as a basis for understanding the economic issues that arise in designing policies to conserve forest ecosystems.

Ecosystem services generally comprise two distinct attributes: (1) the direct products produced by ecosystems, and (2) the processes that produce the products.

Rather than presenting a catalog treatment of the literature, our approach emphasizes an application that differentiates the effects of forest conversion on both ecosystem products and processes. We argue that such specificity is necessary for conceptually unpacking the various effects of forest conversion on human well-being, and we review the general state of knowledge in this area. Further, our analysis highlights the state of knowledge associated with the economics of policy interventions to enhance ecosystem services that are provided.

Key Points Covered

  • Ecosystem services as a concept
  • The need for specificity with ecosystem services
  • Current forest conversion projections
  • Forest-based ecosystem services
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Economic issues for ecosystem service policies

Reference:

Smail, Robert A.; Lewis, David J. 2009. Forest-land conversion, ecosystem services, and economic issues for policy: a review. PNW-GTR-797. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 40 p.