Economic evaluation of some of the most important ecosystem services in Zagros forests

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Forestry, Faculty of Agricultural, Ilam University, Ilam, Iran

2 Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Engineering, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

3 Department of Forest Economics and Forest Management Planning, ALU Freiburg, Germany


The contribution of ecosystems to the world's economy and human well-being has been widely recognized in science and policy. In temperate and semi-temperate forests, multi-functional services have been studied such as carbon storage, wood and food production, water regulation, and ecotourism. The results of various studies have shown that the water yield and storage functions are top priorities. With a significant delay after other countries, various studies have been recently carried out in Iran, especially in the northern forests, on the identification and evaluation of ecosystem services. This study intended to consider the most important ecosystem services, including water production, carbon storage, soil loss prevention, and production function, in Mishkhas forests of the Ilam Province.
Material and methods:
In this study, we used the direct market evaluation method (net present value) to calculate the forest production function and to estimate ecosystem services, including water yield, soil erosion, and carbon sequestration using the InVEST water production model, the modified EPM experimental method, and total carbon calculations (above ground, underground, litter, and soil biomass), respectively.
Results and discussion:
The total economic value of services was 549534 million Rials for the region. The total annual economic value of non-forest products in the forests of the region, or the value of their productive function, was 38508 million Rials and the annual economic value was 9.37 million Rials per hectare, which has a large role in the economy of utilizing households in the region. In this research, based on the calculations, the value of each hectare of the forest ecosystem for annual water yield was 5.58 million Rials. In this study, water yield function had the highest value among other ecosystem services and accounted for 43.7 percent of all the ecosystem services. Concerning the prevention of soil erosion, the results showed that in the forest ecosystem, soil erosion was 1.05 tons per hectare less than the average of other uses of the area, 1050 kg prevented from the soil waste by each hectare of the forest ecosystem, which has a value of 22 million Rials. In other words, the forests in the studied area were capable of preventing soil erosion damage about 90604 million Rials. Each hectare of these forests stored 24.25 tons of carbon that according to the coverage level of these forests, the total amount of carbon storage was 169442 tons, which is worth 180049 million Rials and shows the importance of these forests. In total, 32.8% of the total services evaluation in the region was related to the carbon storage function.
The results of this study indicated that the services and functions of the forests of the region were not free and there is a seemingly latent value and cost that are very important and have a lot more value than marketable commodities (sub-products harvest).


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