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         Global | Forest ecosystem services, Green recovery, Monetary

valuation, update ESVD |  Status: Completed June 2022

FAO-SOFO 2022: Forest Ecosystem Services

Forests deliver a broad range of ecosystem services (ES) that underpin human well-being in a social, physical, mental and economic sense. The extent and condition of forests in many parts of the world, however, have declined dramatically. This has resulted in a decline in forest ecosystem services (FES) while at the same time the demand for FES and the recognition of its importance has increased.

One output of the project was a paper on the available information on the economic value of FES contained in the Ecosystem Services Valuation Database (ESVD). After updating forest value data for the SOFO 2022 report, the ESVD now contains over 2,700 unique values for FES for 10 forest types in all parts of the world.

Our results highlight the need to look beyond narrow market values and to take the 'full' value of ecosystems into account. This not only helps to make better informed decisions, but potentially provides many opportunities for innovative financing instruments and business opportunities. The ESVD provides the basis for conducting value transfers to inform forest policy and management decisions in a relatively low-cost and timely way, and to take the 'full' value of nature into account in decision-making.

Read more in the background report.

Involved user groups and ESVD applications

In this project we aim to show the benefits of using the ecosystem services approach to take the 'full' value of forests into account. We are specifically targeting the following user groups through the following ESVD applications:

International Governmental Organisations

The ESVD contributed to new knowledge on the importance of forests for human well-being, moving beyond the market benefits which are usually used in decision-making. This leads to more complete information for decision-making contributing to green solutions and conservation and reforestation.


Conventional CBA is focus on market values and therefore ignores most of the so-called externalities (positive and negative) of many ecosystem services, notably the regulating ecosystem services. With the ESVD, these non-market benefits and externalities are included.



Natural capital accounting frameworks aim to provide a structured way of measuring the economic significance of nature that is consistent with existing macro-economic accounts.

The ESVD provides a source of information from which to transfer monetary values to account for the ecosystem services benefits that forests provide.

Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) schemes attempt to provide incentives for the continued or enhanced provision of ES and address the commonly observed problem that markets do not exist for ecosystem services.

The ESVD can assist with this type of analysis by creating insights into the economic impacts for forest ecosystem services. More specifically, the ESVD can provide information from similar study sites to quantify the economic value underlying a price setting mechanism using value functions.

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