Valuation of Ecosystem Services from Nordic Watersheds

From awareness raising to policy support? (VALUESHED)

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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.




The VALUESHED report first discusses a definition of “watershed services” (Chapter 2), a review of valuation studies in Nordic countries in comparison to international experiences (Chapter 3); looks at detailed examples of valuation studies from two Nordic watersheds (Chapters 4 and 5); discusses methodological challenges and possibilities for policy application (Chapter 6), and finally makes recommendations for policy and further study (Chapter 7). The report also contains supporting material in Appendix 1 – providing further details on the stepwise approach to valuation based on the AQUAMONEY project, funded by the European Commission. Appendix 2 provides a more detailed explanation of economic valuation methods applied to watershed services for the reader unfamiliar with this literature.


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