an average of 7 indicator datasets

Latest weighted average score:


Score is trending up over time
Weighted average score of Services Indicators

Ecosystem services are the many benefits humans and wildlife gain from forests. For example, forests provide timber, firewood, clean water, and maple sap for syrup. They also supply opportunities for hunting, recreation, and wildlife viewing. Forests, thus, contribute greatly to the economy. Forests also supply habitat and food for a variety of wildlife species.

-- Expert interpretation for Services is not avaialable --

We as beneficiaries of ecosystem services sometimes overlook their true value. By providing clean water and storing carbon, trees are essential to life. Without these ecosystem services there would have to be artificial alternatives to perform these same functions.

Placing a monetary value on ecosystem system services provides justification for the conservation and protection of forest.

To assess ecosystem services, the Forest Indicators Dashboard utilizes data on a wide range of services, including timber harvest, stream indicator species, hunting tags, carbon storage, maple syrup production, recreation rates, and forest bird biodiversity.

Indicator Weight
Timber Harvest 20%
Stream Indicator Species 15%
Hunting Harvests 10%
Carbon Storage 15%
Maple Syrup Production 15%
Recreation Rates 10%
Forest Bird Diversity 15%

Timber Harvest

Timber harvest was measured by collecting data on the volume of timber harvested from the wood each year. A larger total harvest indicates the forest was able to provide more resources and jobs, ultimately contributing to the economy. For a high score, the forest must produce high volumes of timber.

Timber Harvest contributes to 20% of the overall Services category score.

Stream Indicator Species

The effectiveness of a forest to provide clean water is assessed through the diversity of stream indicator species. A stream indicator species in this context is a macroinvertebrate (insects, worms, or snails) whose presence, absence, or abundance reflects the current condition of the environment. Macroinvertebrates typically require high levels of dissolved oxygen and low turbidity in the water. High diversity indicates a higher functioning stream and water quality, and as a result, a higher score.

Stream Indicator Species contributes to 15% of the overall Services category score.

Hunting Harvests

Forests provide habitat for many game animals (deer, wild turkey, and moose). Without healthy forests, these animals would not have sufficient habitat and food, which in turn dictates the number of hunting tags that are available. Ideally, a high number of hunting tag sales indicates healthy populations of game animals as a result of healthy forest habitat, and as a result, a higher score.

Hunting Harvests contributes to 10% of the overall Services category score.

Carbon Storage

Carbon storage is the amount of carbon stored in forests. Each year, growing trees add more carbon in the form of wood. Some trees die, or lose branches, which add to the decomposing carbon pool on the forest floor. The role of forests in carbon sequestration is critically important in moderating the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. As the amount of carbon storage increases, so too will the score.

Carbon Storage contributes to 15% of the overall Services category score.

Maple Syrup Production

The total yearly production of maple syrup provides a sense of the health and economic value of the state's sugarbushes. High maple syrup production equates to a high score.

Maple Syrup Production contributes to 15% of the overall Services category score.

Recreation Rates

Tallying the total count of day use and overnight visitors to Vermont’s forested state parks helps us quantify the use of forests for recreation purposes. A higher number of visitors contributes to a higher overall score.

Recreation Rates contributes to 10% of the overall Services category score.

Forest Bird Diversity

The diversity of forest-dwelling birds provides a sense of how well Vermont's forests support bird habitat, food sources, and reproductive success. A greater diversity of birds will contribute to a higher overall score.

Forest Bird Diversity contributes to 15% of the overall Services category score.