Economics and Ecosystems
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Economics and Ecosystems

Efficiency, Sustainability and Equity in Ecosystem Management

Lars Hein

Economics and Ecosystems demonstrates how the concepts of economic efficiency, sustainability and equity can be applied in ecosystem management. The book presents an overview of these three concepts, a framework for their analysis and modelling, and three case studies. Specific attention is given to how complex ecosystem dynamics, such as thresholds or irreversible responses, influence ecosystem management options. The case studies focus on ecosystem dynamics and ecosystem services supply in a forest ecosystem, a Dutch wetland, and a rangeland in the Western Sahel.
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Chapter 4: Modelling the Efficiency and Sustainability of Forest Management

Lars Hein

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4. 4.1 Modelling the efficiency and sustainability of forest management INTRODUCTION This chapter shows how dynamic systems ecological–economic modelling, as presented in Chapter 3, can be applied to analyse the efficiency and sustainability of ecosystem management options. The case of a hillside forest supplying two ecosystem services, wood production and erosion control, is used as an example. In this chapter, a basic model of a hypothetical forest ecosystem is developed, and the model parameters are quantified on the basis of representative values based on literature. The forest model comprises two components: forest cover and topsoil. In order to obtain consistency between the parameters, as much as possible, values related to a US Douglas fir forest stand are used. The specific objectives of the chapter are to: (1) model the productivity of a forest, in two cases, a reversible and an irreversible response to high harvesting pressure; and (2) demonstrate the difference between efficient and sustainable rotation periods, and identify intermediate management options ensuring higher economic efficiency as well as long-term sustainability. The ecological–economic model developed in this chapter presents a deviation from the Faustmann models that have often been used to optimise rotation periods (Tahvonen, 1991). Faustmann models are algebraic optimisation models, and the basic principle of this type of models is that, for the economic efficient rotation period, the marginal value of the growth of the timber stock equals the marginal opportunity costs of not harvesting. The opportunity costs depend upon the costs of capital and the...

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