Forest ecosystem services at landscape level – Why forest transition matters?

Forest ecosystem services at landscape level – Why forest transition matters?


Forest transition theory describes patterns of forest decline and recovery. This theory explains what services change as forested landscapes shift in the three stages of recovery. This model covers both forest-type gradients (diversity and usage) and landscape gradients (connectivity and coverage). It is not yet understood how these forest transition stages influence the quantity and quality of ecosystem services.

Goals and Methods

This study is on forest fragments of Ecuador and the Philippines, both of which are classified as humid tropical forests that all contain some level of deforestation, degradation, and recovery. Landscapes are classified as either early, middle, or late successional depending on the forest density and other stand dynamics. Importantly, the authors note that they include local communities and stakeholders in the process of locating and selecting forest types. The authors aim to determine the degree that forest density and cover change impacts ecosystem services, and how this may change in different forest types and recovery stages.

Conclusions and Takeaways

Overall, reference forests provide the highest quantity of services, followed by logged forests, secondary forests, and lastly was agroforestry systems with the lowest number of services. The authors conclude that landscape transitions reduce services in remnant forests. In late transition landscapes, planted forests and agroforestry are important for timber supply. Dense and diverse forests support a multitude of services in old-growth and regeneration forests, displaying a need to maintain forested landscape connectivity. The authors state that forest restoration should be implemented with the transition stage in mind and also considers forest-dependent people.


Peters F, Lippe M, Eguiguren P, Günter S. Forest ecosystem services at landscape level – Why forest transition matters?. Forest Ecology and Management. 2023;534:120782. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2023.120782.