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The Challenges Of Non Timber Forest Ecosystem Services Approach

1760 words - 8 pages

Forest ecosystems services emerge and replace timber as a focus point of forest management. Eftec (2005) defines forest ecosystems service as benefits from forest to support human life through such natural processes, for example, in regulating air, water, and nutrient cycles, stabilizing microclimate, and preventing droughts and floods. This approach then emphasize on how to maintain all natural processes within the forest to sustain their natural product such as water, fresh air, and fruits, instead of focusing on sustaining the products itself, especially on timber. Timber extraction activities commonly neglect other features such as wild animal, under storey vegetation, thus obviously affect to ecosystem balances, and prevent them to function well. Furthermore, wood-based approach leads to misinterpretation on forest that sees the value of forests only from commercial wood. After extracting wood, forests tend to be converted to other profitable land use, and cause more deforestation. In their report, Food and Agriculture Organization (2010) says that global forests’ loss due to conversion to other use and natural causes reached 13 million hectare per annum in the last decade, equal to 36-football field per minute. Nevertheless, Polasky (2011) explain that at least there are three challenges in mainstreaming this approach namely how to understand the concept, how to estimate the value of services, and how to endorse stakeholders’ engagement. To examine Polasky’s ideas, this essay will describe a brief concept of forest ecosystem services, identify some main services provided by forest, and present some challenges in promoting ecosystem services as a key point of forest management.

Nasi et al (2002) define ecosystem services as ecosystem benefits are provided by forest to humankind related its function, such as to regulate air and water, to sequestrate carbon, and regulate nutrients. In other words, it can be described as non-direct ecosystem benefits as well, instead of ecosystem good as direct ecosystem benefits. In more detail, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005) classify ecosystem services into four categories, namely ‘Provisioning Services’, ‘Regulating Services’, ‘Cultural Services’, and ‘Supporting Services’. The last three, besides ‘Provisioning service’ refers to non-direct benefit from forest, which are major benefits from forest but less realized. To support ecosystem to provide its services, it should be ensured that all natural processes run well, and focus on particular forest product, such as wood, is possible to distract the processes. There are many benefits of forest to support basic human need. However, this essay will describe more detail about services in regulating water supply, purifying air, regulating climate, and sequestration of carbon, as a main greenhouse gasses.

In terms of services, firstly, Krieger (2001) argues that forest ecosystems have an important role in sustaining water supply to human life and...

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