Authentication of computation of the social value of woody plants growing out of forest for the purpose of calculation of the extent of compensation measures for felling
Technological Agency of the Czech Republic
Coordinator of the project in CUEC
The project aimed at evaluation, revision, innovation, completion and verification of the Methodology for non-forest woody plants appraisal including calculation of compensatory measures for felled or damaged woody plants NCA CR (version 2018) approach for assessment of woody plants growing out of forest, including the setting of individual coefficients. The motivation for the project stems among other things from the potential future use of the methodology for determining financial compensation for ecological damage caused by woody plants felling that are based on Section 9(3) of Act No. 114/1992 Coll., on Nature and Landscape Protection which has not been activated yet into legal practice due to missing special Act. The project focused on creating and collecting a body of materials and documents as complete as possible and based on various scientific disciplines. These formed the basis for the verification of the calculation steps, the individual parameters and the resulting values of woody plants. ..
The main output of the project is the updated Methodology for non-forest woody plants appraisal including calculation of compensatory measures for felled or damaged woody plants NCA CR (in CZ), which is based on the existing methodology of the NCA CR (2018). The updated methodology is certified by the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic.
The novelty of the methodology lies in its comprehensive approach that links the fields of science already represented in the existing methodological procedure (arboriculture, dendrology, biology) with additional science fields: social science knowledge on the value of trees (especially sociology and environmental economics, including expert evaluation methods and non-market valuation) and with knowledge from the field of environmental law. Particular steps and levels of the existing methodological design were systematically validated, innovated, extended and objectified in this update of the methodology based on a multidisciplinary approach including the following steps:
- literature review on tree valuation and on preferences for tree species in the Czech Republic and abroad across disciplines,
- evaluation of previous experience with the application of the previous versions of NCA CR methodology,
- re-evaluation of cost-based values using current cost price lists (sample survey of plant material suppliers, current price lists of works),
- multi-round expert panels based on the standardised Delphi procedure (30 experts with equal representation of the following disciplines: dendrology and arboriculture; biology, ecology, botany or entomology; landscape and garden architecture, spatial planning, EIA documentation experts and forensic experts),
- survey on the Czech public's preferences towards tree species (standardised sample of the population representative for the Czech Republic), including non-market valuation of the social value of tree species on the basis of environmental economics theory,
- proposals for changes and updates to the methodology based on the above points,
- statistical testing of the impacts of the proposed changes and updates on the valuation results and obtaining reactions from users of the methodology to the proposed changes,
- evaluation and finalisation of the changes and updates.
The innovation has significantly contributed to the transparency and reproducibility of the methodological procedure, which should now represent a comprehensive basis for supporting the substantive argumentation of tree valuation issues - both for the professional background of the application guarantors (especially the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic and the Ministry of Environment of the Czech Republic ) and other users of the methodology (especially nature protection authorities).
The main innovations in the valuation procedure compared to the previous version encompass a new categorisation of solitary trees, explicit consideration of invasiveness in the valuation of both solitary trees and woody plant stands, and a more precise distinction between the values of dry and decaying trees with regard to their biological potential. Altogether the updates to the 2021 methodology result in a slight increase in the value of most of the felled solitary trees and wood plant stands compared to the previous version of the methodology. In case of felling of mature trees, the new version of the methodology still leads to compensation with several newly planted tree individuals, while replacements of young trees roughly matches to the size of new plantations, leading to a tree-for-tree replacements as in the previous versions of the methodology.
While the updated methodology NCA CR on tree assessment contains mainly the updated valuation procedure, which is only briefly commented so that the text retains clarity, the comprehensive background to the methodology and the innovation of the methodological procedure for 2021 is summarized in the publicly available Technical Report on the Methodology for Valuation of Woody Plants Growing Outside Forests (2021, in CZ), which complements the updated NCA CR methodology in this respect.
We expect the updated methodology to be used in the decision-making of state administration bodies (Ministry of Environment, AOPK, ČIŽP), in the assessment of ecological damage, for the preparation of expert reports and studies in the EIA process. In support of the state administration, the objectified and verified procedure will serve as a user-friendly procedure for quantifying ecological damage, it will allow setting the scope of administrative and economic instruments in the protection of trees - replacement or compensatory measures for felling; it can also be used to determine the amount of fines for illegal felling. It will also improve the quality of expert and expert studies in the EIA process. Further use (e.g. for setting levies for felled trees) is conditional on a change in the existing law - however, even for these uses, the updated methodology (and the technical report) is a significantly more suitable basis than the existing available documentation for its previous version.
Other outputs of the project to support the application of the methodological procedure and simplification of the OOP agenda are:
- Publicly available Technical Report on the Methodology for Valuation of Woody Plants Growing Outside Forests, which comments in detail on the different valuation steps presented in the Methodology
- publicly available online calculator for tree or tree plant valuation (in CZ), including the setting of compensation measures for felled or damaged trees according to the Methodology
- publicly available map of the ecological requirements of tree species (in CZ), which can be used to design compensatory plantings anywhere in the Czech Republic
- publicly available materials from the public seminar presenting the project results to the professional public (06/2021) and videos illustrating how to work with the Methodology (both in CZ)
- so far 4 published scientific articles:
- Mácová, Szórádová, Kolařík (2022): Are trees planted along the roads sustainable? A large-scale study in the Czech Republic. Sustainability 14(9).
- Kaprová, Neumannová (2021): Aktualizace metodiky oceňování dřevin AOPK ČR pro rok 2021. (Updates of Methodology for non-forest woody plants appraisal NCA CR in 2021). Ochrana přírody 4/2021, p. 31-34.
- Kaprová, Szórádová, Smolová (2019): Vývoj cen výpěstků stromů v oceňování dřevin rostoucích mimo les. (Development of prices of tree nursery products in the context of woody plants appraisal). Zahradnictví 12, p. 22-29.
- Kaprová, Szórádová, Vojáčková (2018): Patterns in recent urban tree plantations and their implications for urban greenery management under the climate change. Journal of Landscape Management 9/2, 22-29.