Ecological characterization

The pilot demonstration Vale do Sousa in the Forest Intervention Zone (ZIF_VS) is a forested landscape extending over 14,388 ha in Northwest Portugal. The landscape was classified into 1,976 stands. It is dominated by pure stands of eucalypt (E. globulus Labill) and mixed stands of eucalypt and maritime pine (P. pinaster Ait.) (about 66 and 33% of the ZIF_VS area, respectively). The remaining area is occupied by hardwoods. Inventory data is available to characterize each stand and trigger growth and yield projection. Spatial metrics are available.

Forest Ecosystem Services (FES)

ZIF_VS is country-wide representative in terms of ownership type and structure as well as of species composition: over 90% of the forest area in Portugal is privately owned (mostly by small non industrial private forest owners) and eucalypt and maritime pine are two of the main forest species. It is a joint management area (ZIF) encompassing hundreds of landowners where management is prone to be more active than in other forest areas in Portugal. Nevertheless, ZIFs are being actively promoted by public policy and thus the inclusiveness of ZIF_VS will further increase. The demonstrator sets a model that might be followed by other forest areas and ZIFs in the region to get payments for ecosystem services they provide and thus increase the profitability of the forest investments. For that purpose, we plan to use multiple-criteria decision making methods (Pareto frontier methods), that have been tested in ZIF_VS, to help forest owners analyse trade offs between ecosystem services and select the baskets of ecosystem services baskets to auction. It is assumed that forest owners are willing to explore potential benefits from changing current ZIF_VS ES portfolios. It is assumed further that they are willing to accept to change these portfolios and provide the new baskets as long as payments are made that may compensate eventual opportunity costs associated with following the corresponding plans. We also plan to use a web-based platform to support a crowdfunding scheme to provide bids to each basket on sale.  Consumers to be targeted by the auction may include both local and non-local residents and institutions. Private households or businesses companies will thus pay directly for the ES to the providers (business model i, in task 2.3)

  • Eucalyptus pulpwood and maritime pine saw logs (provisioning ecosystem services) rank very high.
  • Hardwood (chestnut) saw logs (another provisioning ecosystem service), carbon storage and volume of ending inventory (regulatory ecosystem services).
  • Plan to include further biodiversity, wildfire risk and recreation.
  • Indicators are available to estimate the provision of all ES (with the exception of recreation).


The landowners association – Associação Florestal de Vale do Sousa (AFVS) (http://www.afvs.ws/) is responsible for developing the ZIF_VS forest management plan. AFVS holds meetings with representatives from each ownership type (see Ownership) as well as with representatives from other stakeholders, e.g. the maritime pine industry, the furniture industry, the forest services providers, the forest service, local municipalities and NGOs, to engage them in the development of the plan.


The ZIF_VS involves 387 landowners. Community (local parish) property accounts for 35% of the ZIF_VS area. The remaining area is owned by non-industrial owners (NIPF) and by the pulp industry. Medium and large private properties (area greater than 5 ha) extend over 60% of the ZIF_VS area. The remaining 5% is owned by small or very small forest.

Business Models

  • Providers: Landowners (AFVS)
  • Consumers: To be decided
  • Facilitator(s): Web platform
  • Payments (business model): Voluntary

Ecosystem Model

Models are available to estimate over time the value of all ES indicators (with the exception of recreation), e.g. empirical growth and yield models to estimate the provision of eucalyptus, pine, and chestnut wood as well as the carbon stored (above-ground), wildfire occurrence and damage models to estimate wildfire risk, biodiversity models.


Marlene Marques, Nataly Juerges, José G. Borges (2020)
Appraisal framework for actor interest and power analysis in forest management – Insights from Northern Portugal, Forest Policy and Economics, Volume 111, 2020, 102049, ISSN 1389-9341, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2019.102049