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Understanding the impacts on ecosystem services of actual and potential changes in state at individual sites is important for promoting better planning decisions to support both biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service delivery. Until now this approach has been relatively little used because it has been assumed that ecosystem services are technically difficult and expensive to measure.

This toolkit is designed to overcome this obstacle by providing practical guidance on how to identify which services may be significant at a site of interest, what data are needed to measure them, what methods or sources can be used to obtain the data and how to communicate the results.

The toolkit emphasizes the importance of comparing estimates for alternative states of a site (for example, before and after conversion to agriculture) so that decision-makers can assess the net consequences of such a change, and hence the benefits for human well-being that may be lost through the change or gained by conservation.

The toolkit has attempted to find a balance between simplicity and utility of developing convincing information for decision-makers and therefore excludes consideration of some of the more advanced concepts in ecosystem services. This is so that it can be used by non-experts, yet still provide scientifically robust information.

Access the toolkit here.