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Economic Benefits Generated by Protected Areas: the Case of the Hoge Veluwe Forest, the Netherlands

Lars Hein, Department of Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University

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Abstract

Eliciting the economic benefits provided by protected areas is important in order to ensure that they are properly considered in policy and decision making. There are relatively few studies that provide a comprehensive overview of the economic benefits provided by European forest ecosystems, in spite of the large share of forests in the protected area system in most countries. An economic valuation of the ecosystem services supplied by the Hoge Veluwe forest in the Netherlands is presented. The Hoge Veluwe forest is one of the largest and most well-known protected areas in the country. The services included in the study are wood production, supply of game, groundwater recharge, carbon sequestration, air filtration, recreation, and nature conservation. A conservative estimate of the total economic benefits generated by the forest is around 2000 Euro/ha/year, which is more than three times higher than the per hectare-value generated by nearby agricultural land. The study provides an analysis of the economic value of eight ecosystem services, discusses the uncertainties of the value estimates, and examines the implications for financing protected area management.

Key words

ecosystem services; Europe; forest; Hoge Veluwe forest; protected area; valuation
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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087