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A new report, Ontario’s Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt’s Natural Capital from Green Analytics and Sustainable Prosperity finds that in addition to storing over $11.17B of carbon, the Greenbelt provides $3.2B annually in ecosystem services to the region. The report, commissioned by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, assessed the value of final services provided by the Greenbelt that Ontario residents benefit from.

At nearly 800,000 hectares (2 million acres), Ontario’s Greenbelt stretches from Niagara to Northumberland protecting vital agricultural land and greenspace in the Greater Golden Horseshoe. The Greenbelt is home to a wealth of important ecological systems and some of the Province’s most productive agricultural land. This natural capital sustains ecological and human health in the region and the Greenbelt is an important agricultural and recreational resource.

Implemented in 2005, the Greenbelt Plan protects this vital natural capital by preventing new urban development in greenfield areas within its boundaries. Residents in the Greater Golden Horseshoe gain significant benefits from the natural and environmental features protected by the Greenbelt. From the clean air and water that sustains human life to the natural beauty of the landscape that provides recreational opportunities, the Greenbelt is uniquely positioned to provide and preserve a high quality rural and agricultural landscape for the benefit of millions of Ontarians.

Green Analytics and Smart Prosperity Institute were commissioned by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation to provide an updated estimate of the value of natural capital in Ontario’s Greenbelt, building on an assessment that was first carried out in 2008. The current report has three main purposes:

  1. To estimate the value derived from the natural capital of the Greenbelt.
  2. To establish a baseline natural capital accounting framework that can be maintained and built upon over time to support decision making and advocacy work related to the Greenbelt.
  3. To present a natural capital accounting framework that demonstrates to decision makers how to identify and measure the benefits derived from natural capital.

Download the report here.