Research article

Effects of different thinning systems on the economic value of ecosystem services: A case-study in a black pine peri-urban forest in Central Italy

Alessandro Paletto , Isabella De Meo, Gianluca Grilli, Natasha Nikodinoska

Alessandro Paletto
Council for Agricoltural Research and Economics (CREA). Email:
Isabella De Meo
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA)
Gianluca Grilli
Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento
Natasha Nikodinoska
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (CREA)

Online First: August 31, 2017
Paletto, A., De Meo, I., Grilli, G., Nikodinoska, N. 2017. Effects of different thinning systems on the economic value of ecosystem services: A case-study in a black pine peri-urban forest in Central Italy. Annals of Forest Research DOI:10.15287/afr.2017.799

Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) should be able to produce an optimal level of bundle of Ecosystem Services (ES), thus ensuring more resilient forest ecosystems also creating benefits for local population and human well-being. Yet, choosing between alternative forest management practices is not straightforward as it necessarily involves ES trade-offs. Forest management decisions have to reconcile the socio-economic and ecological contributions of forest ecosystems by fostering a synergistic relation between multiple ES while lowering ES trade-offs. The aim of the study is to analyze different forest management practices (selective and traditional thinning) in black pine peri-urban forest in Central Italy, by investigating their contribution in terms of provisioning (wood production), cultural (recreational benefits), regulating (climate change mitigation) ES. For each management option was performed: (1) the biophysical assessment of selected ES by using primary data and calculating indicators for wood production with special regard to biomass for energy use (living trees and deadwood volume harvested), recreational benefits (tourists’ preferences for each forest management practice), climate change mitigation (carbon sequestration in above-ground and below-ground biomass), and (2) the economic valuation of wood production, recreational benefits and climate change mitigation ES using direct and indirect methods (environmental evaluation techniques). The results show that the effects of the selective thinning on ES is higher that the effects of the traditional thinning. The economic value of the three ES provided by traditional and selective thinning are respectively: bioenergy production 154.2 € ha-1 yr-1 and 223.3 € ha-1 yr-1; recreational benefits 193.2 € ha-1 yr-1 and 231.9 € ha-1 yr-1; carbon sequestration 29.0 € ha-1 yr-1and 36.2 € ha-1 yr-1. The integrated (biophysical and economic) assessment of ES in addition to the trade-off analysis can provide multi-perspective insights for forest policy makers and can be included as a part of the local forest management plans.

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