Plantation Forests in Lao PDR - Analysis of Ecosystem Services

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Functional ecosystems are vital for human wellbeing. There is a high variety of benefits that humans receive from ecosystems such as clean air and water, timber and non-timber products and food supply. According to FAO ecosystems are endangered all around the world. Especially tropical forests, which are rich in biodiversity, are endangered by forest degradation. Land use intensification is causing loss of natural forest cover and is leading to a loss in ecosystem services. At the same time the interactions between ecosystems are poorly understood and are often not considered in decisions regarding future land use. Especially human induced changes are effecting the provision of ecosystem goods and services. This is including the extensive establishment of plantations and intensification of agricultural production. Therefore this study aims to support decision makers to understand the sensitivity of ecosystems for future land use management. The key ecosystem services climate regulation and biodiversity have been assessed under three different land use scenarios in the case study areas in Salavan and Savannakhet province of Lao Peoples Democratic Republic. These provinces are experiencing a growing demand of plantation forests for production of wood products like lumber, furniture and poles, mainly from neighboring countries such as Vietnam and China. In this study spatially explicit models were used to map key ecosystem services and define future land use scenarios to support future decision making. Results are indicating that decisions in land management towards a more sustainable land use approach could help to protect important ecosystems for human wellbeing and that a conservation based land use approach would result in a higher supply of ecosystem services.

    Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen

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    Heldt, B.


    Lao People's Democratic Republic


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