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|Valuing forest ecosystem services in New Zealand||491.75 KB|
Society depends on services and benefits provided by ecosystems. Yet, many of our actions affect ecosystems in ways that undermine long-term human wellbeing. Although ecosystems provide many services to society, many of these services are not accounted for in land-use decisions. The concept of 'ecosystem services' offers a framework for understanding our dependence on nature and can encourage decision makers to consider broader impacts of land-use decisions beyond short-term economic rewards. Furthermore, economic valuation of ecosystem services offers a potential strategy for including the value of ecosystem services in decision-making.
In this paper, the author describes several ecosystem service frameworks and outlines how these frameworks can inform land use decisions, with a particular focus on those involving forests. She then describes methods for valuing ecosystem services. Following this, the author provides examples relating to forest ecosystem services and draw conclusions based on existing valuation studies in New Zealand. The intention is to convey how an ecosystem service approach could be used in New Zealand to capture benefits provided by ecosystems that are often not accounted for in land-use decisions.