Forests provide society with many beneficial ecosystem services, including wood products, biodiversity, fresh water, recreation and carbon storage.
The forest industry understands this and recognizes the importance of ecosystem services to society. In fact, ecosystem services are embedded in sustainable forest management principles such as the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) forest certification standard.
Forest managers play a unique and important role in managing and taking proactive measures toward enhancing ecosystem services, often bearing the cost burden, which can be significant. Furthermore, there has been a historical gap in accounting for the full value of ecosystem services beyond existing market values which may understate many of the additional benefits of forest management activities.
Silvacom is working with the EcoServices Network partners to research market-based approaches that may provide economic opportunities in the management and enhancement of ecosystem services in Alberta. Furthermore, new tools are emerging to help the forest sector quantify and assess ecosystem services including the Natural Capital Protocol Draft Forest Product Sector Guide and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Ecosystem Services Procedure (FSC-PRO-30-006). These tools along with others can be used to assess a company’s dependence on ecosystem services as a method of business risk management and to identify new opportunities for revenue should an ecosystem services market be implemented in the future.
For more information on ecosystem services and how they can be integrated into business planning, contact us.