The value of forest ecosystem services: A meta-analysis at the European scale and application to national ecosystem accounting

The present meta-analysis compiles 158 primary studies, originating from Europe and dated between 2000 and 2017, of which 30 provided relevant information for a statistical meta-analysis, yielding 71 value observations on benefit transfer approaches used in the past to provide value transfers of forest ecosystem services using current knowledge.

The results reveal that GDP per capita and ecosystem service type are significant determinants in explaining variation in forest value. The results of the meta-analysis model are also applied to estimate the ES provided by forests in the Czech Republic. The total value of forests is approximately $2842 ha/1 yr-1, and the ecosystem services of regulation and maintenance are identified as the most valuable.

Finally, the authors try to show the prospects of using this method for accounting purposes and illustrate forest supply and use accounting tables based on the results of the meta-analysis. The meta-analysis can potentially constitute a promising decision-support tool for start-up accounts considered as a second-best valuation approach. However, the method remains questionable, due to the wide variation in the way primary valuation studies are presented and the lack of guidelines with reference to its application in ecosystem accounting as such.

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