Martina_Sterbova

Approaches and methods on valuation of forest ecosystem services in the partner countries: an analysis and case studies

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Martina Sterbova (National Forest Centre – Forest Research Institute Zvolen) was hosted by Prof. Luděk Šišák (Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague).

In 2016, I finished my PhD. study at the Faculty of Forestry of the Technical University in Zvolen, Slovak Republic. Now, I work as a researcher at the National Forest Centre - Forest Research Institute Zvolen. The topic of my Short Scientific Visit is related to my work as a member of the FOREST EUROPE Expert Group on valuation of and payments for forest ecosystem services (FES).

One of the main reasons we worry about the loss of forests is that they provide valuable services which may be lost or diminished as forests degrade. As a result, raising concerns about the consequences of such loss for forest ecosystem functioning, the provision of ecosystem services and human well-being. Therefore, economic valuation of forest ecosystem services (FES) is necessary. It attempts to answer how valuable are FES or how much worse off would we be if we had less of these services. As utility cannot be measured directly, economic valuation techniques are based on observation of market and nonmarket exchange processes. Economic valuation usually attempts to measure all services in monetary terms, in order to provide a common metric in which to express the benefits of the diverse variety of services provided by ecosystems.

The main objective of SSV was to analyse various approaches and methodologies on valuation of FES existing in the partner countries, with an emphasis on economic valuation methods. The methodology of the project was based on the combination of scientific methods and approaches. It mainly consisted of consultations and interviews with my host Prof. Šišák and with other scientists, literature review, document analysis and descriptive method. The SSV focused on discussion, collection, exchange and analysis of information and research results relevant to the classification of valuation methods/approaches, its description, suitability for the service to be valued, and possible benefits and limitations of its implementation. The attention was also paid to the collection and review of case studies – the best practice examples of valuation methods of FES in the Czech Republic.

The knowledge gained during the SSV was implemented in the first draft of the literature review on valuation methods. The visit helped to develop the document “Analysis of different approaches and methods on valuation of FES in the pan-European region”, which was elaborated by Slovak experts from the National Forest Centre in Zvolen, within the FOREST EUROPE Expert Group on valuation of and payments for forest ecosystem services established according to the FOREST EUROPE Working Programme Action 4.4. Furthermore, the visit gave the opportunity to foster and consolidate the cooperation between the National Forest Centre – Forest Research Institute in Zvolen and the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague.