Value assessment of exotic and native tree plantations based upon short-term gains from wood has suggested that exotic plantations are more profitable than native tree plantations. Such estimations have largely ignored the value of ecological services. This study estimates the ecological-economic value of forest floor vegetation, soil nutrients and return of nutrients from litter in exotic Eucalyptus tereticornis and native Dalbergia sissoo plantations in northwestern India. Two age groups of plantations, i.e. 6-8 years (young) and 19-21 years (old) were selected to compare net benefits as exotics deliver most of their benefits (especially wood) by eight years of age, while natives deliver benefits after 12-15 years of age. The diversity of plant species, nutrient content in soil and nutrient return through litter were greater in Dalbergia than in Eucalyptus plantations. A comparison of plantations at eight years suggested that the total monetary value of tangible (timber, fuel, fodder, eucalypt oil and ash) and ecological services (phytodiversity, soil nutrient content and nutrient return through litter) was 1.6 times greater in Eucalyptus than in Dalbergia plantations, chiefly because of timber. However, ecological benefits were 1.8 times greater in Dalbergia than in Eucalyptus plantations. At 19-21 years of age, Dalbergia supported 2.7 times more total benefits than Eucalyptus. Thus there seems to be a need to consider both tangible and intangible services over the long term and to carry out total value assessment of exotic and native tree plantations to design appropriate policy.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Conservation and Society|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|