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Forest governance and economic values of forest ecosystem services in Vietnam

Minh Duc Nguyen, Tiho Ancev and Alan Randall

Land Use Policy, 2020, vol. 97, issue C

Abstract: Forest ecosystems deliver valuable services to humanity. However, many forests are being degraded and their services have been undervalued. The main problem lies in the inadequate institutional arrangements for forest governance. This paper aims to assess the effects of alternative forest governance arrangements on the provision and economic values of forest ecosystem services (FES) in Vietnam. The study presents a framework for mapping land use and land cover (LULC) change stemming from actual and hypothetical changes in forest governance regimes, quantifies the resulting changes in the provision of FES, and estimates the associated economic values. In the context of the study site in the North Western uplands of Vietnam, we test three alternative forest governance scenarios: business as usual, with a dominant government role; a community-based governance regime; and a private, individual-based forestry governance regime. Scenarios are based quite closely on the way these regimes are (or might be expected to be) implemented in Vietnam. For each forest governance scenario, we map LULC changes based on land suitability analysis and transition likelihood for the period 2010 − 2020. The resulting maps are used as inputs into the InVEST (Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs) model, which is used to estimate the quantity of three specific FES: carbon storage/sequestration, sediment yield, and water yield. We apply economic valuation methods to value these services: the social cost of carbon is used to estimate the economic values of carbon storage/sequestration; the cost of removing sediment deposited in reservoirs is applied for valuing the reduction of sediment yield, and the residual value of water supply for hydropower generation is used for valuing water yield. The results show that forest governance regimes have a significant effect not only on forest LULC, but also on the quantity and values of FES derived from forests. The FES are differentially affected by alternative forest governance regimes: some FES increase in quantity and value under some governance regimes and decrease under others. Of the three forest governance regimes examined, there is no one regime that will always be ‘better’ than the others in terms of provisioning all considered FES. For the specific context of Vietnam, we find that the private forest governance scenario is inferior to the community-based governance scenario, as an alternative to the current state-based governance. Because our results pertain to the scenarios as constructed, rather than generally to broad categories of governance regimes, there remains the possibility that regimes can be constructed that outperform all of those examined here.

Keywords: Ecosystem services; Ecosystem service valuation; Forest ecosystem services; Forest governance; InVEST model; LULC change (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.03.028

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