Principal Investigators: Francisco Escobedo, Damian Adams, Amr Abd-Elrahman, and Taylor Stein, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida.
Project Funders: Funding for this publication and associated research is provided in part by the USDA Forest Service, this institution is an equal opportunity employer, as well as the Florida Forest Service and the UF School of Forest Resources and Conservation.
Project Summary: Quantifying and assessing ecosystem services allows for a systematic accounting of the environmental benefits people receive from forests. Florida’s non-industrial private lands provide many ecosystem services to society, so recognizing the values of these services in landuse planning (especially at the county planning level) could be important for the long-term sustainability of Florida’s forest lands, and wellbeing of Florida’s citizens.
Objective: This multidiciplinary study, with researchers from UF and The Nature Conservancy, quantified and assessed the economic values of four ecosystem services provided by forest land enrolled in the Florida Forest Stewardship Program (FSP) including water quality, carbon storage, timber production, and wildlife conservation.
Outcomes: Results found that on average a typical acre of forest enrolled in FSP provides ecosystem services with a present value of $5,030. Altogether, the present value of ecosystem services from 437,823 acres of FSP forests is more than $2.07 billion. Overall, water provided the largest share of the value (66%), followed by carbon stocks (25%), timber production (7%) and wildlife (2%). Results are a conservative estimate but can be used to inform the public and policy-makers about the benefits of programs such as the FSP that maintain and conserve working forests.