Topic 1: Multiple Use Approach and Trade-offs

This module introduces the concept of multiple-use as applied to forestry and its importance in trade-off analysis. The concept of multiple-use in forestry is based on recognition that a variety of forest ecosystem services can be produced from the same forest area, either simultaneously or serially. In doing so, the objective of forest management is to maximize the economic net returns from forestry activities over a specified time frame. This approach can help forest managers to ensure sustainable forest management. Multiple-use management does not imply that all possible forest ecosystem services should occur in the same forest area at the same time. It involves the production of certain forest ecosystem services, while discouraging noncompatible uses. Determining the optimal mix of various ecosystem services requires an economic model that will provide information on the best and highest use of forest land.

Various economic models can be used for this purpose. In trade-off analysis of land use change, ideally the costs and benefits of the transitions should be based on the economic value of the total forest ecosystem services provided by each transition or management state. It simply means the most preferred possible alternative among various alternatives or interventions. In the case of forest ecosystems, a trade-off involves a sacrifice that must be made to get a certain ecosystem service. For example, the government gives up the opportunity to harvest timber from a given forest area for biodiversity conservation or ecotourism development. Thus, the economic trade-off is the expected revenue stream forgone from timber harvest, as compared to the benefits gained by the alternative of biodiversity conservation or ecotourism development. The benefits and costs from the current use should be compared to that of all possible alternatives.

Trade-offs among forest ecosystem services are the core of sustainable forest management. Therefore, it is critical to understand how decisions lead to increases in some ecosystem services and decreases in others. Policy makers should be informed about these trade-off so that the decisions they make take into account the biophysical conditions that limit the nature of these trade-offs, the social conditions that drive decisions, and the current and previous economic conditions of the country or region.

Read and understand the following slide presentations

Multiple Use and Trade-off.

[SUFES_05_Module III_Slides _1 Multiple Use and Tradeoff.pdf to be embedded here]

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Read the following articles:

Ruijs, A., Wossink, A., Kortelainen, M., Alkemade, R., & Schulp, C.J.E. (2013). Trade-off analysis of ecosystem services in Eastern Europe. Ecosystem Services, 4, 82-94.

Mohd. Shahwahid H. O., A.N.A. Ghani, A. R. Nik, Z. Yusof., & R. Ujang. (1999). Economics benefits of watershed protection and trade-offs with timber production: a case study in Peninsular Malaysia. Environment and Development Economics, 4,3, 279-311.

Sabogal, C., Guariguata, M.R., Broadhead, J., Lescuyer, G., Savilaakso, S., Essoungou, N., & Sist, P. (2013). Multiple-use forest management in the humid tropics: opportunities and challenges for sustainable forest management. FAO Forestry Paper No. 173. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and Bogor: Indonesia, Center for International Forestry Research.


Bowes, M.D., & Krutilla, JkV. (1989). Multiple-use management: The economics of public forestlands. Washington, DC.: Resources for the Future. ISBN: 0-915707-41-1

Clawson, M. (1975). Forests for whom and for what?. Washington, DC.: Resources for the Future. ISBN-13: 978-1617260353

Gregory, G. R. (1987). Resource economics for foresters. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. ISBN:0-471-08521-9

Panayotou, T., & Ashton, P. (1992). Not by timber alone. Washington, DC.: Island Press. ISBN: 1-55963-195-3

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# 1.1: Can you list the uses of forests in your country as defined or identified in the national forest acts or laws of your country? What is the status of multiple-use management in your country?

SrQ#1.2: Is it true that the loss or destruction of tropical forests is due to a lack of trade-off analysis among competing uses? Please provide various perspectives or evidences from various studies to support your argument.