Natural Capital Assessment in Northern Ireland: Urban Study
This report presents a natural capital assessment of two urban sites in the Belfast area, Bog Meadows and Minnowburn, and was commissioned by Northern Ireland Environment Link. Using a natural capital accounting framework, the assessments aimed to identify and assess existing natural capital assets, the flow of services from them, and the monetary value of the resultant benefits. The net ecosystem service benefits were then established, taking into account the costs of maintaining the natural capital assets. This assessment has shown that the natural capital accounting approach can be successfully applied to urban sites in Northern Ireland. Both accounts show that the sites are providing significant goods and services to society, and these are 50-80 times higher than the costs of maintaining the sites. Natural capital accounting is useful at highlighting the value of the natural environment, which may otherwise remain hidden. It is hoped that the application of Natural Capital accounts will be used to inform decision making and that the case studies described here can be used to demonstrate best practice, and to showcase the importance of natural capital in Northern Ireland.
What makes this innovative
This assessment shows that natural capital accounting for urban areas can help in highlighting the value of the natural environment in ways that may otherwise remain hidden. Both accounts show that the sites involved are providing services that are 50-80 times higher than the costs of maintaining the sites.
Natural Capital Solutions
Northern Ireland Environment Link
Which ecosystem services were focused on?
- Sense of place/heritage
- Crops, livestock, fish
- Drinking water
- Trees, standing vegetation, peat
- Carbon sequestation & storage
- Climate regulation
- Detoxification and purifiation in air, soils & water
- Disease and pest regulation
- Flood control
- Noise regulation
NI Environment Link undertook pilot projects in two areas, the first in urban sites in Northern Ireland, namely Bog Meadows and Minnowburn. The second project applied a natural capital approach to CAFRE owned and managed farms,
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