Resources By Theme Economic valuation of ecosystem services

Economic valuation of ecosystem services

The process of valuing ecosystem services – what nature does for people – is an important aspect of managing the environment as an asset with benefits for everyone.

While valuation is not just about money, there is increasing interest among many in finding ways to reflect the value of the environment in decisions that have an economic dimension. This page provides links to tools and guidelines that help those involved in the economic valuation of ecosystem services at the local and landscape scale (such as local authority regions and river catchments). Related pages on this website include Natural Capital Accounting.

General introductions to valuation

For information on economic valuation of nature more generally, the following are useful:

Practical resources for local projects

Practical experiences

The following resources are examples of the work of place-based projects that have attempted monetary valuation of ecosystem services in specific landscapes.

  • Wicken Fen Vision project. A partnership of academic and charitable organisations have used the Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment to evaluate ecosystem service benefits associated with a long-term initiative to convert drained, intensively farmed arable land to wetland. The land is owned by the National Trust. An open-access journal paper provides more information on the economic analysis, which suggested an annual net gain to society equivalent to US$199 per hectare per year following a one-off investment equivalent to US$ 2,320 per hectare.

  • The Keighley and Watersheddles Catchment project estimated the value for the ecosystems services provided under different land use and management scenarios for the Keighley Moor and Watersheddles catchment and compared these with the potential costs.