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Scottish Ecosystem Services

About the project

People managing Scotland's natural environment will have more information on how their decisions could affect farmers, wildlife and greenhouse gas emissions from the 'Economic value of Scottish ecosystem services' project.

The work is part of the OPERAs programme on Ecosystem Science for Policy and Practice. OPERAs is developing ecosystem science for policy and practice to enhance sustainable use of ecosystems and has 27 partners from across the EU.

Economic value of Scottish ecosystem services

The aim of this project is to contribute to the improvement of decision-making relating to the management of Scotland’s natural environment.

Background

Scotland’s distinctive assemblage of species and habitats characterises a great stock of natural capital from which people derive great benefit.

Ecosystem services are crucial to the production of many vital goods underpinning and enhancing human well-being, including water quality and quantity, agricultural production, habitat for wildlife biodiversity, recreational areas, etc.

However, the absence of markets for many such goods results in a lack of readily observable prices, which means that the true value of benefit flows to people is underestimated in national economic frameworks and traditional decision-making.

Accurate valuation of natural capital related goods is a vital requirement for delivering efficient use of both market and non-market resources.

In recent years, economists have attempted to address this challenge to decision making through a number of high profile studies, such as the pioneering work of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK-NEA).

We take application of methods of economic valuation presented in the UK-NEA further by considering additional essential ecosystem services (e.g. water quality) and, moreover, modelling the high degree of inter-dependency between natural systems.

 

Contact: Amii Harwood