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Environment Programm

This desktop study builds on the existing body of work that has been undertaken in Zambia to estimate the value of ecosystem services, which have mainly been confined to the extraction of timber and fuel wood, non-wood forest products, carbon and, in a broader context, ecotourism. The study has reviewed and synthesized available information gathered through extensive literature reviews of peer-reviewed publications and grey literature and the collection of data and reports in-country and has used these data to update some earlier estimates as well as to produce preliminary desktop estimates of services that have not been valued previously. In some cases this required dealing with contradictory and wide ranging estimates, and poor quality or missing data. Recognizing that the supply of ecosystem services and their demand varies spatially according to a range of biophysical and socioeconomic factors, our study used a spatial approach as far as possible in order to generate more realistic estimates of the likely variation in the value of ecosystem services and the potential trade-offs involved in forest use and conservation. This required the collation of national and global spatial data and preparation or modification of certain spatial data layers using geographic information systems (GIS). Based on available empirical and spatial data, in conjunction with assumptions made on the basis of expert understanding of ecosystem services, preliminary estimates of the value of a range of forest ecosystem services were made in two main ways: • Extrapolation of data based on spatial parameters at the resolution allowed by the data (e.g. by vegetation type, biomass, population density or district), or • Use of an existing spatial modelling platform, “InVEST”, developed by the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University, USA, which, despite the relatively high level of spatial resolution involved, is not necessarily more accurate in the absence of locally relevant data