Land Management: Ecosystem Assessment

House of Lords written question – answered on 7th June 2007.

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Photo of Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer Spokesperson in the Lords, Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the benefits of moving from quantification of the value of individual ecosystem services to quantification of the aggregated value of a range of services provided by different ecosystems; and what research they have commissioned to facilitate this calculation.

Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Minister of State (Sustainable Farming and Food), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Sustainable Farming and Food), The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office, Deputy Leader of the House of Lords

The Government have commissioned several scoping studies exploring ways of valuing ecosystem services and which valuation techniques are most appropriate under different circumstances. Defra, the lead department, has identified a range of situations where aggregation of ecosystem services valuation will be important, including:

when considering the multifunctional benefits at a given site or when calculating the likely changes in site values under different options in a decision; and development of national accounting processes that look at the aggregate value of natural capital in adjusted measures of economic prosperity.

A current project, entitled An Assessment of the Economic Value of England's Terrestrial Ecosystem Services, aims to provide evidence on the economic value of England's terrestrial ecosystem services that demonstrates the multi-functional values of ecosystems. This builds on a related project which is developing a methodology for analysing the state and trends of England's ecosystem services. Key outputs of this study will be an investigation of methodologies for combining and aggregating, both spatially and temporally, values based on different valuation techniques, and assessments of the suitability of existing studies for benefits transfer. This study should provide an assessment of the strength and gaps in the evidence base across England's ecosystem services, which will enable better targeting of future research to reduce the uncertainties in valuation of ecosystem services.

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