Bringing Uncertain Ecosystem Services into Forest Optimization

Forest ecosystems provide numerous services for human welfare, but it is less clear how ecosystem services (ES) can be considered in forest optimization, particularly, if the ES are uncertain. Various methods to support forest decision-making under multiple objectives may provide valuable opportunities to improve forest optimization.

ES may be described quite well with appropriate indicators, which are partly already available. Among the continuous optimisation methods for considering multiple criteria, approaches which minimize undesirable outcomes are promising. These approaches can be well combined with robust optimization.

An alternative to multi-criteria decision methods for acknowledging the importance of ES in forest management would be to consider economic value coefficients in forest optimization. These could be integrated into modern portfolio approaches to support decisions about the optimal future forest composition and management.

This research project develops and analyses an optimization approach to test the consequences of integrating ES and their uncertainties based on various information sources into forest optimisation. This approach must be capable of considering either multiple criteria to characterize ES or aggregated economic value coefficients for the optimization process. Such approach would allow analysing the influence of the integration of ES based on different information sources for comparable ES on the resulting optimal forest composition and management.