Silva Balcanica 21(1): 47-68, doi: 10.3897/silvabalcanica.21.e54628
Ecosystem services from mountain forest ecosystems: conceptual framework, approach and challenges
expand article infoMaria Glushkova, Miglena Zhiyanski, Stoyan Nedkov§, Rositsa Yaneva, Lora Stoeva
‡ Forest Research Institute, BAS, Sofia, Bulgaria§ National Institute of Geophysics, Geodesy and Geography, BAS, Sofia, Bulgaria
Open Access

Mountain ecosystems play an essential role in sustainable mountain development, providing benefits and values to humanity not only for the rich biodiversity they contain, but also because of their important role in climate regulation, water cycle, provisioning of recreation, tourism, cultural or spiritual values. The high biodiversity of the mountain areas allow the provision of a wide range of ecosystem services. However, different impacts to the environment threaten the delivery of these services and, consequently, the quality of life of people, both living in the mountains and outside the mountains. Recognizing, demonstrating and capturing the value of ecosystem services can play an important role in setting policy directions for ecosystem management and conservation and, thus, in increasing the provision of ecosystem services and their contributions to human well-being. Quantifying and mapping of these benefits can also help managers and decision makers to realize the importance of these sites for conservation and to allow the proper understandings of the impacts of mountain forest ecosystems on territorial development and welfare of local populations.

The paper aims to outline the relevance and applicability of the ecosystem services approach for the assessment of the condition of mountain ecosystems and the services, they provide, for better understanding by the scientific community and to support decision makers in sustainable management of mountain regions.

mountain ecosystems, ecosystem services, assessment, mapping, management