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Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Nordic Watersheds

From awareness raising to policy support? (VALUESHED)

image of Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Nordic Watersheds

The emergence of the ecosystem services concept suggests that economic valuation studies are already fulfilling a role in raising awareness by demonstrating the loss of nature’s goods and services using monetary indicators. In order to have future relevance in capturing value and giving support to policy-makers, valuation methods must specifically address resource accounting, priority setting, and instrument design. This report provides an overview of economic valuation methods of ecosystem services from watersheds in the Nordic countries. The study was commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers and conducted by The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, The Norwegian Institute of Water Research and Sweco Norge during the period May – November 2011. The study indicates that economic valuation methods can be applied to watershed management in multiple ways. However, policy makers should be wary of “one size fits all” valuation estimates that appear ready to use across different watershed types and stakeholder interests.

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Introduction

The VALUESHED study was commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers early 2011, started in May and finished in November. It responds to a need for a Nordic synthesis of experiences with valuation of ecosystem services from watersheds, in light of the recent study “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) (Kumar 2011) and the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) before that. There is a need for Nordic references and cases of the value of ecosystem services in watersheds, to complement references compiled by MEA and TEEB valuation study databases. This report attempts to fill this gap.

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