an average of 7 indicator datasets
Latest average score:4.2/5 in 2022
Weighted average score of Services Indicators

Score is trending up over time

Ecosystem services represent the many benefits that humans gain from forests. Forests provide timber, firewood, clean water, and maple sap for syrup. They also supply opportunities for hunting and recreation, and support wildlife diversity and carbon storage. 

-- Expert interpretation for Services is not avaialable --

Humans sometimes take the benefits of ecosystem services for granted and overlook their true value. By providing clean water and valuable products, and performing important functions like storing carbon, trees are essential to life in our state. Without these ecosystem services of forests, we would need to find a new way to perform these same functions. These functions that humans have come to depend on can be tracked over time to identify early signs of change that might require action.

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

Indicator Weight
Timber Harvest 8%
Stream Indicator Species 8%
Hunting Harvests 8%
Carbon Storage 8%
Maple Syrup Production 8%
Recreation Rates 8%
Forest Bird Diversity 8%

Timber Harvest

Timber harvest was measured by collecting data on the volume of timber harvested from forests in the state each year. A larger total harvest indicates the forest was able to provide more resources, ultimately contributing to the economy. A high score means that the forest is producing high volumes of timber.

Timber Harvest contributes to 8% of the overall Services category score.

Stream Indicator Species

The effectiveness of a forest in providing clean water is assessed through the diversity of key indicator species of stream health. 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. High diversity indicates better habitat conditions and better water quality. A high score means that stream indicator species diversity is staying high over time.

Stream Indicator Species contributes to 8% of the overall Services category score.

Hunting Harvests

Forests provide habitat for many game animals such as deer, wild turkey, and moose. Without healthy forests, these animals would not have enough habitat and food, and hunters would not be able to take as many animals. More hunting success should indicate healthy populations of game animals as a result of healthy forest habitat. A high score means that hunting is providing a high number of meals over time.

Hunting Harvests contributes to 8% of the overall Services category score.

Carbon Storage

Carbon storage is the amount of carbon stored by trees in forests. Each year, growing trees add more carbon in the form of wood and store carbon in older growth. The role of forests in carbon sequestration is critically important in moderating the effect of greenhouse gas emissions. A high score means that carbon storage is staying high over time.

Carbon Storage contributes to 8% 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. A high score means that maple syrup revenue is high.

Maple Syrup Production contributes to 8% of the overall Services category score.

Recreation Rates

Forested parks draw visitors seeking to recreate within forests. Tallying the total count of day use and overnight visitors to Vermont’s forested state parks helps us quantify the draw these forests have for recreation. A high score means that there is a high number of visitors.

Recreation Rates contributes to 8% 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. The Living Planet Index gives a sense of how this bird diversity is sustaining over time. A high score means that diversity is high.

Forest Bird Diversity contributes to 8% of the overall Services category score.