Research article

Mapping the value of ecosystem services: A case study from the Austrian Alps

Alessandro Paletto , Clemens Geitner, Gianluca Grilli, Richard Hastik, Fabio Pastorella, Laura Rodrìguez Garcìa

Alessandro Paletto
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics – Forest Monitoring and Planning (MPF), Piazza Monsignor Nicolini 6, 38123 Villazzano di Trento (Italy). Email:
Clemens Geitner
Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck (Austria), Innrain 52f; 6020 Innsbruck
Gianluca Grilli
Institute for Renewable Energy, European Academy of Bolzano (EURAC) and Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, via Mesiano 77, 38123 Trento (Italy)
Richard Hastik
Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck (Austria), Innrain 52f; 6020 Innsbruck
Fabio Pastorella
European Forest Institute (EFI) Project Center “MOUNTFOR”, Via E. Mach, 1 38010 San Michele A/A (Italy)
Laura Rodrìguez Garcìa
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics – Forest Monitoring and Planning (MPF), Piazza Monsignor Nicolini 6, 38123 Villazzano di Trento (Italy)

Online First: February 13, 2015
Paletto, A., Geitner, C., Grilli, G., Hastik, R., Pastorella, F., Rodrìguez Garcìa, L. 2015. Mapping the value of ecosystem services: A case study from the Austrian Alps. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2015.335

Ecosystem services (ES) are considered the conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems sustain and fulfil human life. In the decision making process related to the natural resources management, two key-aspects must be taken into account: the economic value of the benefits provided by ES (provisioning, regulating and cultural services) and the spatial distribution of these benefits. The purpose of the paper is to develop a method aimed to capture the economic value of the benefits provided by ES, in order to support the decision makers in the natural resources management. ES are not homogeneous across landscapes nor in space. Consequently, gaining knowledge on the spatial distribution of the economic relevance of ES is a fundamental information to target management actions. This method was tested in a case study in the Austrian Alps (Leiblachtal area in Vorarlberg region), characterized by a high importance of forests and grasslands. The results show that the highest economic values could be achieved for the provisioning services with a range between 200 €/ha year and 1,400€/ha year. The regulating services have also important economic values, but strongly localized in specific areas (i.e. protective forests against natural hazards). The economic values of the cultural services are influenced by the preferences of tourists and varies between 5 €/ha year to 60 €/ha year. The method allowed us to reveal the spatial heterogeneity of provisioning, regulating and cultural ES, depending on the ecological characteristics of the site.

Adamowicz W., Boxall P., Williams M., Louviere J., 1998. Stated Preference Approaches for Measuring Passive Use Values: Choice Experiments and Contingent Valuation. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 80(1): 64-75. DOI: 10.2307/3180269

Bartczak A., Lindhjem H., Stenger A., 2008. Review of benefit transfer studies in the forest context. Scandinavian Journal ofForestResearch 42: 276–304.

Bateman I.J., Carson R.T., Day B., Hanemann W.M., Hanley N., Hett T., Jones-Lee M., Loomes G., Mourato S., Özdemiroğlu E., Pearce D.W., Sugden R., Swanson J., 2002. Economic Valuation with Stated Preference Techniques: A Manual. Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham. DOI: 10.4337/9781781009727

Bergstrom J.C., De Civita P., 1999. Status of benefits transfer in the United Statesand Canada: a review. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics 47(1): 79-87. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7976.1999.tb00218.x

BFW, 2011. Federal research and training centre for forests, natural hazards and landscape, forest inventory 2007/09 (NFI7), Praxis Information nr. 24-2011.

Boyle K.J., Bergstrom J.C., 1992. Benefit transfer studies: myths, pragmatism, and idealism. Water Resources Research 28(3): 657-663.
DOI: 10.1029/91WR02591

Brookshire D.S., Neill, H.R., 1992. Benefit transfers - conceptual and empirical issues. Water Resources Research 28(3): 651-655. DOI: 10.1029/91WR02590

Busch M., La Notte A., Laporte V., Erhard M., 2012. Potentials of quantitative and qualitative approaches to assessing ecosystem services. Ecological Indicators 21: 89-103. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.11.010

Casado-ArzuagaI., Onaindia M., Madariaga I., Verburg P.H., 2014. Mapping recreation and aesthetic value of ecosystems in the Bilbao Metropolitan Greenbelt (northern Spain) to support landscape planning. Landscape Ecology 29: 1759-1770. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-013-9945-2

Caspersen J.P., Pacala S.W., 2001. Successional diversity and forest ecosystem function. Ecological Research 16: 895-903. DOI: 10.1046/j.1440-1703.2001.00455.x

Coomes D.A., Allen R.B., Sčoty N.A., Goulding C., Beets P., 2002. Designing systems to monitor carbon stocks in forests and shrublands. ForestEcology and Management 164: 89-108. DOI: 10.1016/S0378-1127(01)00592-8

Costanza R., d'Arge R., de Groot R., Farber S., et al., 1997. The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387: 253-260. DOI: 10.1038/387253a0

Daily G., 1997. Nature's Services: Societal Dependence on Natural Ecosystems. Island Press, Washington.

De Groot R., Alkemade R., Braat L., Hein L., Willemen L., 2010. Challenges in integrating the concept of ecosystem services and values in landscape planning, management and decision making. Ecological Complexity 7: 260−272. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecocom.2009.10.006

Degiampietro P., 2014. Economic valuation of carbon stocking of the deadwood in Alpine forests. Master thesis.University of Trento,Trento.

Di Cosmo L., Gasparini P., Paletto A., Nocetti M., 2013. Deadwood basic density values for national-level carbon stock estimates in Italy. Forest Ecology and Management 295: 51-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2013.01.010

DixonJ.A., Scura L.F., Carpenter R.A., Sherman P.B., 1997. Economic Analysis of Environmental Impacts. Earthscan Publications,London,UK, 210 p.

Dorren L.K.A., Berger F., Imeson A.C., Maier B., Rey F., 2004. Integrity, stability and management of protection forests in the European Alps. Forest Ecology and Management 195: 165-176. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2004.02.057

Eade D.O.E., Moran D., 1996. Spatial economic valuation: benefit transfer using Geographical Information Systems. Journal of Environmental Management 48: 97-110. DOI: 10.1006/jema.1996.9990

Egoh B., Dunbar M.B., Maes J., Willemen L., Drakou E.G., 2012. Indicators for mapping ecosystem services: a review. European Commission; Joint Research Centre; Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra, 113 p.

Ehrlich P.R., Ehrlich A.H., 1981. Extinction: the causes and consequences of the disappearance of species. Random House,New York.

European Commission, 2011. Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020.Brussels, 2011-05-03. COM(2011) 244.

Federici S., Vitullo M., Tulipano S., De Lauretis R., Seufert G., 2008. An approach to estimate carbon stocks change in forest carbon pools under the UNFCCC: the Italian case. iForest 1(1): 86–95.

Fisher B., Turner R.K., Morling P., 2009. Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making. Ecological Economics 68(3): 643-653. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.09.014

Fontana V., Radtke A., Bossi Fedrigotti V., Tappeiner U., Tasser E., Zerbe S., Buchholz T., 2013. Comparing land-use alternatives: using the ecosystem services concept to define a multi-criteria decision analysis. Ecological Economics 93: 128-136. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.05.007

Freeman III A.M., 2003. The Measurement of Environmental and Resource Values: Theory and Methods, 2nd edition. Resources for the Future,Washington, 516 p.

Garrod G., Willis K., 1999. Economic valuation of the environment. Methods and case studies. Edward Elgar,Cheltenham.

Glück P., Kuen H., 1977. The recreational value of the large Ahorboden. Allgemeine Forstzeitung 8(1): 7-11.

GoioI., Gios G., Pollini C., 2008. The development of forest accounting in the provinceof Trento(Italy). Journal of ForestEconomics 14(3): 177–196. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfe.2007.09.002

Grilli G., Paletto A., De Meo I., 2014. Economic Valuation of Forest Recreation in an Alpine valley. Baltic Forestry 20(1): 167-175.

Grêt-Regamey A., Walz A., Bebi P., 2008. Valuing ecosystem services for sustainable landscape planning in Alpine regions. Mountain Research and Development 28(2): 156-165. DOI: 10.1659/mrd.0951

Hanemann W.M., 1994. Valuing the environment through contingent valuation. The Journal of Economic Perspectives 8(4): 19-43. DOI: 10.1257/jep.8.4.19

Hauck J., Schweppe-Kraft B., Albert C., Görg C., Jax K., Jensen R., Fürst C., Maes J., Ring I., Hönigová I., 2013. The promise of the ecosystem services concept for planning and decision-making. GAIA-Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society 22(4): 232-236.

Hawes E., Smith M., 2005. Riparian Buffer Zones: Functions and Recommended Widths.YaleSchoolof Forestry and Environmental Studies,New Haven, 15 p.

Heal G.M., Barbier E.E., Boyle K.J., Covich A.P., Gloss S.P., Hershner C.H., Hoehn J.P., Pringle C.M., Polasky S., Segerson K., Shrader-Frechette K., 2005. Valuing Ecosystems Services: Toward Better Environmental Decision-making. National Research Council,Washington,D.C.

Hein L., van Koppen K., de Groot R.S., van Ierland E.C., 2006. Spatial scales, stakeholders and the valuation of ecosystem services. Ecological Economics 57(2): 209-228. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2005.04.005

Hein L., 2011. Economic benefits generated by protected areas: the case of the Hoge Veluwe forest, theNetherlands. Ecology and Society 16(2): 13.

Hönigová I., Vačkář D., Lorencová E., Melichar J., Götzl M., Sonderegger G., Oušková V., Hošek M., Chobot K., 2012. Survey on grassland ecosystem services. Report to the EEA – European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity. Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, Prague, 78 p.

IPCC, 2003. Good Practice Guidance for Land Use, Land Use Changes and Forestry, 632 p.

Lavorel S, Grigulis K, Lamarque P, Colace MP, Garden D, Girel J, Pellet G, R Douzet. 2011. Using plant functional traits to understand the landscape distribution of multiple ecosystem services. Journal of Ecology 99: 135–147. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2010.01753.x

Loomis J. 2005. Updated outdoor recreation use values on national forests and other public lands. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-658, USDA, Portland, 26 p.

MA, 2005. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Biodiversity Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, 155 p.

Maes J., Egoh B., Willemen L., Liquete C., Vihervaara P., Schägner J.P., Grizzetti B., Drakou E.G., La Notte A., Zulian G., Bouraoui F., Paracchini M.L., Braat L., Bidoglio G., 2012. Mapping ecosystem services for policy support and decision making in the European Union. Ecosystem Services 1(1): 31-39. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2012.06.004

Martínez de Aragón J., Riera P., Giergiczny M., Colinas C., 2011. Value of wild mushroom picking as an environmental service. Forest Policy and Economics 13(6): 419-424. DOI: 10.1016/j.forpol.2011.05.003

Martínez-Harms M.J., Balvanera P., 2012. Methods for mapping ecosystem service supply: a review. International Journal of Biological Sciences (1-2): 17-25.

Mavsar R., Varela E., Pettenella D., Elizabeth S., Bredahl Jacobsen V., Bredahl Jacobsen J., 2014. The value of carbon sequestration. In Thorsen J., Mavsar R., Tyrväinen L., Prokofieva I., Stenger A. (eds.), The Provision of Forest Ecosystem Services, European Forest Institute (EFI), Joensuu, pp. 56-62.

Merlo M., Rojas Briales E., 2000. Public goods and externalities linked to Mediterranean forests: economic nature and policy. Land Use Policy 17(3): 197-208. DOI: 10.1016/S0264-8377(00)00017-X

Mitchell R.C., Carson R.T., 1989, Using Surveys to Value public goods: The contingent Valuation Method.HopkinsUniversityPress, Washington, 446 p.

Mooney H., Ehrlich P., 1997. Ecosystem services: a fragmentary history. In: Daily G.C. (ed.), Nature's Services, Island Press,Washington. pp. 11-19.

Motta R., Haudemand J.C., 2000. Protective forests and silvicultural stability. Mountain Research and Development 20: 74-81. DOI: 10.1659/0276-4741(2000)020[0180:PFASS]2.0.CO;2

Notaro S., Paletto A., Raffaelli R., 2008. The economic valuation of non-productive forest functions as an instrument towards Integrated forest management. EFI Proceedings 55: 301-312.

Notaro S., Paletto A., 2011. Links between Mountain Communities and Environmental Services in the Italian Alps. Sociologia Ruralis 51(2): 137-157.
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9523.2011.00532.x

Notaro S., Paletto A., 2012. The economic valuation of natural hazards in mountain forests: An approach based on the replacement cost method. Journal of Forest Economics 18(4): 318-328. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfe.2012.06.002

Pak M., Türker M.F., Öztürk A., 2010. Total economic value of forest resources inTurkey. African Journal of Agricultural Research 15(5): 1908-1916.

Paletto A., Ferretti F., Cantiani P., De Meo I., 2012. Multi-functional approach in forest landscape management planning: an application in Southern Italy. Forest Systems 21(1): 68-80. DOI: 10.5424/fs/2112211-11066

Paletto A., De Meo I., Cantiani M.G., Maino F., 2013. Social Perceptions and Forest Management Strategies in an Italian Alpine Community. Mountain Research and Development 33(2):152-160. DOI: 10.1659/MRD-JOURNAL-D-12-00115.1

Paquette A., Messier C., 2011. The effect of biodiversity on tree productivity: from temperate to boreal forests. Global Ecology and Biogeography 20: 170-180. DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00592.x

Peters-Stanley M., Yin D., 2013. Maneuvering the mosaic. State of the voluntary carbon markets2013. AReport by Forest Trends' Ecosystem Marketplace & Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Washington, 126 p.

Peters-Stanley M., Gonzalez G., 2014. Sharing the stage: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2014. A Report by Forest Trends' Ecosystem Market place,Washington.

Rogiers N., Eugster W., Furger M., Siegwolf R., 2005. Effect of land management on ecosystem carbon fluxes at a subalpine grassland site in the Swiss Alps. Theoretical and Applied Climatology 80: 187-203. DOI: 10.1007/s00704-004-0099-7

Rosenberger R.S., Loomis J.B., 2001. Benefit transfer of outdoor recreation use values: a technical document supporting theForestService Strategic Plan (2000 revision).General Technical Report-Rocky Mountain Research Station.USDA ForestService RMRS-GTR-72.

Rücker E., 2013. Farm structure survey 2010. Office of the Vorarlberg State Government, State office for statistics, Bregenz.

Scarpa R., 1993. System of National Accounts and sustainable development: a review of the issue. Medit 3: 24-31.

Schulze E.D., Wirth C., Heimann M., 2000. Climate change – managing forests after Kyoto. Science 289: 2058-2059. DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5487.2058

Seidl R., Rammer W., Jägera D., Currieb W.S., Lexer M.J., 2007. Assessing trade-offs between carbon sequestration and timber production within a framework of multi-purpose forestry in Austria. Forest Ecology and Management 248(1-2): 64-79. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2007.02.035

Seidel W., Schedler B., Bertel A., 2013. Implementation concept of the energy region Leiblachtal. Vorarlberg energy institute and energy region Leiblachtal. Dornbirn.

Šišák L., 2006. Importance of non-wood forest product collection and use for inhabitants in theCzechRepublic. Journal ofForestScience 52(9): 417-426.

Šišák L., 2013. Differentiated valuation of forest services by their relationships to the market and its implementation in theCzechRepublic. In: Šišak, L., Dudik, R. and Hrib, M. (eds.) Socio-economic analysis of Sustainable Forest Management, Czech University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Prague. pp. 116-122.

TEEB, 2010. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundation Edited by Pushpam Kumar. An output of TEEB: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity. Earthscan,Cambridge.

Vitousek P., Mooney H., Lubchenco J., Melilo J., 1997. Human domination of earth's ecosystems. Science 277: 494-499. DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5325.494

Voces González R., Díaz Balteiro L., López-Peredo Martínez E., 2010. Spatial valuation of recreation activities in forest systems: application to province of Segovia (Spain). Forest Systems 19(1): 36-50.
DOI: 10.5424/fs/2010191-01165

Vihervaara P., Kumpula T., Tanskanen A., Burkhard B., 2010. Ecosystem services–A tool for sustainable management of human–environment systems. Case study Finnish Forest Lapland. Ecological Complexity 7: 410-420. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecocom.2009.12.002

Westman W., 1977. How much are nature's services worth. Science 197: 960–964. DOI: 10.1126/science.197.4307.960

Wilhelmsen M., 2009. Coordinated investigation of living conditions 2008. Report 2009/40. StatisticsNorway, Oslo/Kongsvinger, 138 p.

Wilson M.A., Hoehn J.P., 2006. Valuing environmental goods and services using benefit transfer: The state-of-the art and science. Ecological Economics 60(2): 335-342.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2006.08.015

Zandersen M., Tol R.S.J., 2009. Ameta-analysis of forest recreation values in Europe. Journal of Forest Economics 15: 109-130. DOI: 10.1016/j.jfe.2008. 03.006

No Supplimentary Material available for this article.
No metrics available for this article.