Topic 3: Importance of Forest Ecosystem Services in National Economy

As you can see from the previous two topics, forest ecosystem services are very important for human well-being. They furnish a very wide range of services, both consumption goods and services, and intermediate goods that become inputs in the production process. Demand and supply for forest ecosystem services change over time due to changes in peoples’ preferences, technological development, policy, land use change, and pattern of international trade. In most cases, technologies can be successfully applied in the production process of forest ecosystem services. As a result, forest ecosystem services can play a significant role in promoting economic development and growth, especially in developing countries. Increasing international trade of forest products will enhance export of forest products and, therefore, provide employment opportunities, generate income to the state government, and increase export earning of the country.

FAO (2014) published a report on the contributions of the forestry sector to national economies. The report provides detailed information about this topic. It is important to understand the importance of the forestry sector to national economies and livelihoods of forest-dependent people. This is to ensure that sustainable forest management will benefit the current and future generation. It will also assist policy makers to formulate long term sound forest policy and strategic plans. However, it should be noted that the report only measures the economic contributions of the forestry sector in terms of employment, value added (i.e. contribution to GDP), and value of forest product exports and imports (i.e. contribution to trade balance). A comprehensive view on the roles and importance of forest ecosystem services to national economies needs to be developed and assessed.

Read and understand the following presentation:

Importance of Forest Ecosystem Services

[SUFES_05_Module_II_Slides _3 Importance of Forest Ecosystem Services.pdf to be embedded here.]

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Read the following articles and books:

Blaser, J., & H. Gregersen, H. (2013). Forests in the next 300 years. Unasylva, 64(240), 61-73.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2014). State of the world’s forests: Enhancing the socioeconomic benefits from forests. Rome, Italy: FAO. Retrieved from

Kant, S., & Alavalapati, J. (Eds.) (2014). Handbook of forest resource economics. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0415623247

Lebedys, A., & Li, Y. (2008). Contribution of the forestry sector to national economies, 1990-2011. Finance Working Paper FSFM/ACC/09. Rome, Italy: FAO.

Westoby, J. (1987). The purpose of forests. Oxford: Basil Blakwell. ISBN 0-631-5657-7

Please answer the following self-reflection questions. After formulating your answers, you may post them online at the Knowledge Café for this course as a way to share your ideas and glean knowledge from other students’ responses.

SrQ#3.1: Can you explain the link between forest ecosystems, the services they provide, and human well-being where communities rely on forest ecosystem services directly?

SrQ#3.2: What are major challenges and drivers of change affecting forest ecosystem services in the future?