Mediterranean forests provide a great variety of goods and services, including public goods and positive externalities (e.g. biodiversity conservation, landscape beauty, carbon sequestration, climate change mitigation etc.), many of which, regardless of their importance for the ecological, social and economic development of our society, are often undervalued and underprovided. The main reason for this usually lies in the non-existence of appropriate markets for these goods and services or other policy instruments that would provide forest owners with correct incentives to ensure their sustainable and efficient provision.

Main research lines:

  • valuation of externalities,
  • policy instruments design, and
  • policy evaluation.

The first step in designing appropriate policy instruments to internalize externalities and to create markets for forest goods and services is concerned with the identification of the economic value of these goods, services and externalities, which constitutes the first research line of the area. Economic valuation relies on the notion of willingness to pay (WTP), which can be estimated using economic and non-economic valuation methods. In this context, we have conducted several studies estimating the economic value of the main externalities of Spanish Mediterranean forests.

The second research line is concerned with the design of the appropriate policy instruments in order to ensure the efficient provision of forest goods and services, especially the ones that are currently non-marketed, and create incentives for an enhanced forest management.

The third research line is concerned with the evaluation of forest policies and forest management alternatives using the technique of cost-benefit analysis. In this context, for example, within the EU project EFORWOOD we conduct the analysis of the impacts of different policy and technological changes on the sustainability of the European forest wood chain.

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