This article was originally published on GDSA


“Accurately measuring and valuing the critical benefits that protected areas and key biodiversity sites render to human well-being is now considerably simpler—and so is making the case for their enhanced protection.

This is thanks to a new system of ‘decision trees’ that cuts down on the time and complexity of selecting the most appropriate tool from the available tools for evaluating Ecosystem Services’—or the benefits provided by natural ecosystems and biodiversity sites to humans.

These benefits may include provision of water, air and water filtration, flood protection, carbon storage, pollination of crops, ecotourism, recreation, income opportunities and habitats for wildlife among many others.

Such benefits may often be downplayed or ignored by governments, private sector and communities when evaluating trade-offs between nature protection and competing national development projects.

This new system of ‘decision trees’ is contained in a guidance report prepared by international experts in the field, including from  Conservation International, which is also the secretariat to the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa, an African-led, 13-nation. initiative that seeks to enhance valuation of natural resources and their benefits to humans and their incorporation into national development plans and projects.

The report, “Tools for measuring, modelling, and valuing ecosystem services: Guidance for Key Biodiversity Areas, natural World Heritage sites, and protected areas,” has been issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA).

 “Many protected and biodiversity site managers and researchers want to understand how their sites are benefiting people, but are overwhelmed by the number of tools for ecosystem services that are available,” says lead author Rachel Neugarten of Conservation International.  “This guide will help them pick a tool based on the goals of their assessment, the kinds of information they need, and the time and resources they have.”…”

Read on at: GDSA.