Developing a rigorous set of frameworks, indicators, and data to help integrate the ecosystem services approach into public- and private-sector policy processes.
Ecosystem services are the benefits that people derive from nature, that directly or indirectly underpin human economies and livelihoods. Beginning with the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005, efforts are underway to help governments, businesses, and multilateral development banks include ecosystem services concepts into policy planning and decision-making. Ultimately, this integration requires the availability of concise, relevant information about ecosystems and the benefits and services they provide.
However, as WRI analysis shows, ecosystem service metrics and indicators are underdeveloped, as are the tools to support their application. To overcome this limitation, WRI is developing frameworks, indicators, and metrics that communicate the current state and trends of ecosystems, ecosystem services, biodiversity in general, and the benefits that these provide. These tools will support policy-makers’ use of ecosystem services approaches in public and private sector decision-making and processes, such as Environmnetal Impact Assessments (EIAs) and statistical data collection.
Ecosystem Services and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs)
WRI carried out an on-line survey of environmental assessment professionals to better understand how they address ecosystem services in their work and identify the main obstacles to integrating ecosystem services into environmental assessments. The survey found:
- 79% of the 171 respondents are aware of the concept of ecosystem services.
- Only 40% have seen ecosystem services addressed in environmental assessments.
To respond to the barriers identified in the survey, WRI is developing a conceptual framework and practical guidance to incorporate ecosystem services more comprehensively in Environmental Impact Assessments.
For more information about the EIA project, please contact Florence Landsberg.
- Working Paper: November, 2011