This review focuses on the assessment and economic valuation of ecosystem services from forest ecosystems—that is, our ability to predict changes in the quantity and value of ecosystem services as a result of specific forest management decisions. It is aimed at forest economists and managers and intended to provide a useful reference to those interested in developing the practice of integrated forest modeling and valuation. We review examples of ecosystem services associated with several broad classes of potentially competing forest uses—production of timber, sequestration of carbon, regulation of the quality and quantity of water, provision of residential and recreational amenities, and protection of endangered species. For each example considered, we briefly describe what is known about ecological production functions and economic benefits functions. We also highlight the challenges and best practices in the creation and use of this knowledge. In the final section, we discuss the process, strengths, pitfalls, and limitations of utilizing integrated models for benefit-cost analysis of proposed forest management activities.
Binder, Seth; Haight, Robert G.; Polasky, Stephen; Warziniack, Travis; Mockrin, Miranda H.; Deal, Robert L.; Arthaud, Greg. 2017. Assessment and valuation of forest ecosystem services: State of the science review. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-170. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 47 p.