Introducing the concept of ecosystem services : |b inventory and economic valuation on local scale in Lithuania
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It is the first pilot study in Lithuania, introducing the concept and demonstrating the economic importance of the ecosystem services, as well as establishing the monetary values for the selected ecosystem services and goods. The relatively small but important as a provider of multitude ecosystem services for the local community site in Southern Lithuania was selected as the study area. The services with the highest importance, available in the study area, were identified, using the primary list of national ecosystem services for Lithuania as a background for the selection procedure. The methods of in-situ observation, territory mapping, face-to-face interviews and questioning were applied in the surveys to evaluate the stocks and actual use intensity of ecosystem services. The most proper economic valuation methods for this particularly case were chosen as well. As far as after the forest clear-cut the majority of ecosystem services were lost, it became a vivid example for the comparison of benefits gained and loosed. It was estimated, that the total direct and indirect monetary value of the selected ecosystem services and goods in the small study area could reach more than 20,000 EUR a year to compare immediate value of one-off harvesting timber less than 14,000 EUR, what means that if only the final services and actual use of them would be taken into account, it would be almost 1.5 times (annually) that it was when the forest harvested for timber once. But the main added value of the current research was the introduction, in well understandable, clear and acceptable manner, to local community the idea of ecosystem and biodiversity services and their importance. Limitations of the described study and possibilities for further development of case study approach in the ecosystem services inventory and valuation were also identified.
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