Canadian Forest Service Publications
Controls on Provisioning Services and Forest Productivity: Responses and Risk under Changing Environmental Conditions. 2013. Boisvenue, C., and S. W. Running. Pages 129–149 in Timothy R. Seastedt and Katharine Suding, editors. Climate Vulnerability: Understanding and Addressing Threats to Essential Resources. Elsevier Inc., Academic Press, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 34874
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Forests are the largest plant community association on earth (FAO 2010) and provide a wide array of services. They occupy 52% of the earth’s land surface (Figure 1). They are the largest terrestrial primary producers and sequester the largest amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) on land. In the mountainous parts of the world, forests provide protection against landslides and avalanches. Through their interactions with the atmospheric system, forests regulate environmental conditions, preventing seasonal water shortages or dampening the extent of flooding. They provide a physical barrier that protects soils from erosion and reduces sediment loads in water courses. Forests provide a structure that sustains habitat for countless organisms and, as such, contain a large proportion of global biodiversity (S.o.t.C.o.B. 2010). Forests are also a primary source of fuel in many parts of the world and even provide food. Many of the services provided by forests have high societal value but have little direct monetary value associated with them. Other services have well-established economic values: Forests provide fiber for the global wood products and paper industry. In other parts of the world, forests support a large recreational industry. These ecosystem services are essential to sustaining healthy human societies.