May 16, 2011
Some multi-functional wetlands services include nutrient cycling, water regulation, food web support, clean water provisions, and ecosystem maintenance, amongst others.
Given the framework presented in this book by the authors, by applying the ecosystem services approach (ESApp) total economic value (TEV) can be calculated for a multi-functional wetland with minimal double-counting errors. The ESApp approach starts by indentifying and scaling the ecosystem services of the wetland project within a specific boundary. This is called the scoping stage which includes activities such as spatial and temporal mapping, choosing the ecosystem services to be considered, developing an understanding of the intermediate and final services and benefits, and finally mapping out social, community and economic impacts.
Next mapping and modeling of the above variables needs to occur integrating the following layers:
- Service production layer including biophysical conditions and processes
- Service flow layer including production, topography, and land cover
- Benefits layer including ecosystem service flow, demographic and land use characteristics
- Value layer including economic valuation studies
- Governance layer including formal and informal land tenure, use, rights and resource management issues
For example, in applying this type of analysis, researchers have calculated the economic value from the ongoing efforts to restore the Everglades in the southern part of Florida in the United States to be approximately between US$ 46.5 billion up to US$ 123.9 billion while providing employment for up to 442,664 additional workers over 50 years. Given restoration costs of approximately US$ 11 billion, this implies that the benefit to cost ratio is greater 4 times. This is a significant economic return that facilitates water supply protection, improved real estate valuation, increased tourism and recreational opportunities, fishing industry recovery, and improved wildlife populations and habitat for hunting.
In conclusion, valuing multi-functional wetlands allows us to plan activities to restore ecosystems while developing supporting economic analysis that demonstrates the ecological and financial return to impacted communities.
How to order
Valuing Ecosystem Services: The Case of Multi-functional Wetlands
Authors: R. Kerry Turner, Stavros Georgiou, and Brendan Fisher
Paperback: 229 Pages, £24.99
Publisher: Earthscan Publications, 2011
Gabriel Thoumi, Project Developer, Forest Carbon Offsets LLC, provides forest carbon project development and sustainable finance consulting integrating both the carbon and capital markets. He has consulted on 20 forest carbon projects globally applying multiple forest carbon standards and methodologies, and he frequently lectures and publishes on the same topics globally.
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