Payment for multiple forest benefits alters the effect of tree disease on optimal forest rotation length

Morag F. Macpherson, Adam Kleczkowski, John R. Healey, Nick Hanley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Forests deliver multiple benefits both to their owners and to wider society. However, a wave of forest pests and pathogens is threatening this worldwide. In this paper we examine the effect of disease on the optimal rotation length of a single-aged, single rotation forest when a payment for non-timber benefits, which is offered to private forest owners to partly internalise the social values of forest management, is included. Using a generalisable bioeconomic framework we show how this payment counteracts the negative economic effect of disease by increasing the optimal rotation length, and under some restrictive conditions, even makes it optimal to never harvest the forest. The analysis shows a range of complex interactions between factors including the rate of spread of infection and the impact of disease on the value of harvested timber and non-timber benefits. A key result is that the effect of disease on the optimal rotation length is dependent on whether the disease affects the timber benefit only compared to when it affects both timber and non-timber benefits. Our framework can be extended to incorporate multiple ecosystem services delivered by forests and details of how disease can affect their production, thus facilitating a wide range of applications.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)82-94
    Number of pages13
    JournalEcological Economics
    Volume134
    Early online date21 Jan 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

    Keywords

    • Payment for ecosystem services
    • Payment for environmental services
    • Forest ecosystem services
    • Green payments
    • Invasive species
    • Pests and diseases
    • Hartman model
    • Bioeconomic modelling
    • Optimal rotation length

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