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close this bookEcotourism and other Services Derived from Forests in the Asia- Pacific Region: Outlook to 2010. (FAO - Forestry, 1997)
close this folder2. SERVICES PROVIDED BY FORESTS
close this folder2.1 Categories Of Services
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentEcological services
View the documentEconomic services
View the documentSociocultural services
View the documentScenic and landscape services and values
View the documentThe relative importance of the various services

The relative importance of the various services

It is extremely difficult to compare the importance of the various services provided by forests. In part, this is due to the fact that there is no universally accepted common metric that can be used in such measurement. However, economists and others have tried to measure various services, economic and otherwise, using the metric of economic value. It should be stressed that non-economists often oppose the use of this metric and that the metric requires strong assumptions. Nonetheless, estimates of the economic value of various services of forests does provide one indication of their importance relative to each other and to timber production and non-timber forest products.

Recently, Costanza et al. (1997) estimated the economic value of various services of forests at the global level. These values should be considered extremely rough estimates 1) because of the assumptions involved in their calculation and 2) because they are based on global, rather than regional, evaluations. Their estimates of annual economic value for services of the forest are:

Service

Value (1994 US$ ha-1 yr-1)

Nutrient cycling

361

Climate regulation

141

Raw materials

138

Erosion control

96

Waste treatment

87

Recreation

66

Food production

43

Genetic resources

16

Soil formation

10

Water supply

3

Disturbance regulation

2

Water regulation

2

Biological control

2

Cultural

2

Total value ($ ha-1 yr-1)

969

Though these estimates should be treated with caution and represent value that partly accrues to people living outside the region, they indicate the significant importance of services of forests.