Governments, businesses, development agencies, and NGOs are increasingly turning to economic valuation as a way to protect coral reefs and mangroves. This process makes the economic case for protection and sustainable use of natural resources by showing the monetary, employment, and infrastructure benefits ecosystems provide—metrics that are easily understood by decision-makers.
But not all economic valuations are created equal. WRI's new guidebook shows how NGOs and other stakeholders can conduct economic valuations in ways that lead to real change on the ground.
This guidebook details the steps in conducting a coastal ecosystem valuation to inform decision making in the Caribbean. It guides valuation practitioners—both economists and non-economists—through the three phases of a valuation effort (scoping, analysis and outreach), with an emphasis on...
How do people, governments, and corporations “value” ecosystems? And how can you put a price on the vast array of social, economic, and environmental benefits that ecosystems provide?
These are just two of the questions experts sought to address at “The Future of Revaluing Ecosystems,” an event WRI recently convened in Bellagio, Italy, in collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation, Forum for the Future, and the Economist Intelligence Unit. The meeting brought together 32 participants from public, private, non-profit, and research sectors to consider how society could include in public and private decision-making a more complete valuing of the benefits ecosystems provide to people. The discussions shed light on how we can evaluate ecosystems’ true worth to communities and businesses —and how to use these valuations to foster better environmental stewardship.
The Wayuu people in northern Colombia depend on shrubland for grazing their livestock. These herds serve as the Wayuus’ main source of income and food, and this is partly why they depend so heavily on the existence and condition of shrubland ecosystems. But livestock are also used to pay dowries or make amends, playing a major role in facilitating social interactions between families and clans. If an oil and gas project adversely affects the shrubland ecosystem, it could impact not only the Wayuus’ income and protein intake, but the social bonds that hold these communities together.
Most planners fail to account for the multiple—and sometimes underappreciated—benefits that people derive from their environment, a concept known as ecosystem services. While new Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) standards require impact practitioners to account for ecosystem services when evaluating a proposed project’s potential impacts, many lack a methodological approach that would enable them to properly integrate social and environmental issues.
Until now, that is. WRI’s new guide, Weaving Ecosystem Services in Impact Assessment: A Step-by-Step Method, aims to highlight the interdependence of development projects, people, and the environment. The guide helps impact practitioners and project developers evaluate the social implications of impacts on ecosystems brought by highways, dams, oil and gas wells, and other such projects. By systematically incorporating a consideration of ecosystem services into environmental and social impact assessments, planners can mitigate negative impacts on ecosystem services while also achieving project objectives.
This report provides six steps to address project impacts and dependencies on ecosystem services as part of the environmental and social impact assessment process. These steps build on assessments routinely conducted by social and environmental practitioners to better reflect the interdependence...
In this Issue Brief, we examine (1) how integrating ecosystem services into landscape management can increase the economic, environmental, and social values generated by managed landscapes for both private landowners and surrounding communities, and (2) how these considerations can be...
by Suzanne Ozment, Doug MacNair, Steve Bartell, Barbara Wyse, Rush Childs and Sabina Shaikh - September 2013
Degradation of ecosystems threatens human lives and prosperity, and yet little was known about the state of global ecosystems before WRI launched the idea of a first-ever scientific audit of the health of the world’s ecosystems. WRI helped catalyze a four-year, $25 million effort called the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment that involved more than 1,300 scientists and other experts from 95 countries. Managed under the auspices of the United Nations and completed in 2005, its findings provide powerful data about ecosystems that will inform and direct policies, research, and investments by governments, NGOs, and business. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan calls the Millennium Assessment “an outstanding example of the sort of international scientific and political cooperation that is needed to further the cause of sustainable development.”
Traditional strategies for reducing rural poverty too often ignore the environment. WRI, the World Bank, the U.N. Environment Programme, and the U.N. Development Programme have developed a new model, an ecosystems-based approach that details how effective management of environmental and social resources can result in an improved standard of living. The concept, proposed through WRI’s flagship publication World Resources 2005: The Wealth of the Poor–Managing Ecosystems to Fight Poverty is gaining traction. Governments and international organizations, including the European Union, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the U.K., USAID, and The World Conservation Union are making substantial new commitments to invest in sustainable ecosystem development and incorporating the concept into their rural poverty reduction programs.