Cost-effectiveness of Dryland Forest Restoration Evaluated by Spatial Analysis of Ecosystem Services

Bircha, J.C., A.C. Newton, C. Alvarez Aquino, E. Cantarello, C. Echeverri_a, T. Kitzbergerd, I. Schiappacasse and N. Tejedor Garavito

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Although ecological restoration is widely used to combat environmental degradation, very few studies have evaluated the cost-effectiveness of this approach. We examine the potential impact of forest restoration on the value of multiple ecosystem services across four dryland areas in Latin America, by estimating the net value of ecosystem service benefits under different reforestation scenarios. The values of selected ecosystem services were mapped under each scenario, supported by the use of a spatially explicit model of forest dynamics. We explored the economic potential of a change in land use from livestock grazing to restored native forest using different discount rates and performed a cost–benefit analysis of three restoration scenarios. Results show that passive restoration is cost-effective for all study areas on the basis of the services analyzed, whereas the benefits from active restoration are generally outweighed by the relatively high costs involved.

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Peer-reviewed Article