Georgia’s forests provide essential ecosystem services like water filtration, carbon storage, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities and scenic beauty.
The United Nations led a four-year assessment of the status and trends of the world’s ecosystems. This Millennium Assessment groups ecosystems services into four broad categories:
- Provisioning Services: The production of food, fiber, clean water, and other goods
- Regulating Services: Regulation of climate/temperature, the spread disease, and control rate, quality and output of water
- Supporting Services: Examples include new soil formation, carbon sequestration, nutrient and waste recycling, and pollination
- Cultural Services: The educational, aesthetic, cultural heritage values of ecosystems, including tourism and recreation
Traditionally, most ecosystem services are considered free benefits to society. These public goods provide the basis for sustainable economies, communities, and livelihoods, but have no recognized economic value in the marketplace.
The vital contributions of ecosystem services often go unrecognized in individual, corporate, and public decision making. When forests and other ecosystems are undervalued, they are more susceptible to development pressures and conversion to non-forest uses.
Over the past decade, many efforts have been made to place value on ecosystem services and to establish market-based incentives that reward landowners for maintaining and enhancing the ecosystem services that their forests provide to all of us.
Georgia’s Private Forestland
Georgia’s 22 million acres of private forestland provide society with non-timber benefits and services worth more than $37.6 billion every year, according to a 2011 study led by Dr. Rebecca Moore at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. “Quantifying the Value of Non-Timber Ecosystem Services from Georgia’s Private Forests” reveals that private forests have value for everyone, not just forest landowners. The value of ecosystem services range from $264 to $13,442 per acre, depending upon forest characteristics.
Review studies, reports and more to learn more about ecosystems services.
|Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Bloom or Bust?|
A Document of the UNEP FI Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services Work Stream (BESW).
Launched as a web-based information platform in 2004, Ecosystem Marketplace publishes newsletters, breaking news, original feature articles and major reports about market-based approaches to conserving ecosystem services.
|Ecosystem Services – A Guide for Decision Makers|
A Guide for Decision Makers: by Janet Ranganathan, Karen Bennett, Ciara Raudsepp-Hearne, Nicolas Lucas, Frances Irwin, Monika Zurek and Neville Ash and Paul West – March 2008
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|Quantifying the Value of Non-Timber Ecosystem Services from Georgia’s Private Forests|
2011 study led by Dr. Rebecca Moore at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources quantifying the value of non-timber ecosystem services from Georgia’s private forests.
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