The study assesses the feasibility of a mechanism of payment for ecosystem services to improve the provision of ecosystem services by private forest owners. The range of the potential payment is defined by the opportunity costs of a change in forest management as the lower boundary, and by the willingness to pay of society for the improved supply of ecosystem services as the upper boundary.
The investigation assesses these two boundaries in four hypothetical management scenarios for Aleppo pine forests in Catalonia (north-eastern Spain): (i) passive; (ii) active timber-oriented; (iii) biodiversity improvement; and (iv) wildfire prevention. The upscaling of the outcomes to the regional level shows that the value of the social demand covers the opportunity costs of the landowner. We argue that these figures prove the feasibility and likely acceptance of introducing a payment for ecosystem services based on an earmarked tax. The study represents an initial step for policy instrument design.
Górriz-Mifsud, E., Varela, E., Piqué, M, Prokofieva, I. 2016. Demand and supply of ecosystem services in a Mediterranean forest: Computing payment boundaries. Ecosystem Services 17:53–63