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Throughout the United States, many institutions of higher education own forested tracts, often called school forests, which they use for teaching, research, and demonstration purposes. These school forests provide a range of benefits to the communities in which they are located. However, because administration is often decoupled from research and teaching, those benefits might not always be evident to the individuals who make decisions about the management and use of school forests, which may undervalue their services and put these areas at risk for sale, development, or over-harvesting to generate revenue. To understand what messages are being conveyed about the value and relevance of school forests, we conducted a systematic literature review and qualitatively coded the resulting literature content using an ecosystem services framework. While school forests provide many important benefits to academic and local communities, we found that most of the existing literature omits discussions about cultural ecosystem services that people may receive from school forests. We discuss the implications of this omission and make recommendations for addressing it.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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