Knepp Castle Estate Re-Wilding: Valuing Ecosystem Services

Project description: 

This case study uses a value transfer methodology to assess the costs and benefits of possible changes in ecosystem services from a rewilding project on a private estate in Horsham, Sussex. Rewilding is a process that involves reducing the intensity and changing the type of human intervention and allowing natural processes greater freedom to operate. Practically, the rewilding option in the Knepp Estate initially involved stopping fertiliser and chemical application to the land, and an end to ploughing and intensive grazing. This stimulated the revival of many species of grass and wildflowers. This project reports the likely effects the Knepp rewilding project may have on the ecosystem services provided in the area. A baseline was established and then a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the changes was calculated. The ecosystem services considered included: food and fibre; climate regulation; recreation; education and knowledge; spiritual landscape; aesthetics; and biodiversity. A monetary valuation was then estimated for each of these ecosystem services. Baseline economic values were estimated, and then a monetary value for ecosystem service changes was assigned.

Organisations involved: 

Natural England

Scale of project: 
Knepp Castle Estate, Horsham, Sussex
Total area covered by project: 
35 (sq. km)
Special purposes of project: 
Map economic values of ecosystem services
Map social/cultural values
What ecosystem service classification was used?: 

Not specified

Which ecosystem services were focused on?: 

  • Aesthetic/inspiration
  • Education
  • Recreation/tourism
  • Spiritual/religious
  • Crops, livestock, fish
  • Fibre
  • Food
  • Carbon sequestration & storage
  • Climate regulation
Habitats mapped for ecosystem services: 
Enclosed farmland
Freshwater, wetlands and floodplains
Semi-natural grasslands
Baseline data: 
Habitat or land cover
Human census
Land use data
Contact name: 
Dr. Rob Tinch
Contact job title: 
Lead researcher on case studies: Valuing Changes in Ecosystem Services
425 Chaussee de la Hulpe, Brussels, B-1170
32(0)2 7911003