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Benefits and costs of ecological restoration

Citation: Kelvin, P. et al. Benefits and costs of ecological restoration: Rapid assessment of changing ecosystem service values at a U.K. wetland. Ecol. Evol. 4, 3875–3886 (2014).
Rapid assessment of changing ecosystem service values at a U.K. wetland
Restoration of degraded land is recognized by the international community as an important way of enhancing both biodiversity and ecosystem services, but more information is needed about its costs and benefits. In Cambridgeshire, U.K., a long‐term initiative to convert drained, intensively farmed arable land to a wetland habitat mosaic is driven by a desire both to prevent biodiversity loss from the nationally important Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve (Wicken Fen NNR) and to increase the provision of ecosystem services. We evaluated the changes in ecosystem service delivery resulting from this land conversion, using a new Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site‐based Assessment (TESSA) to estimate biophysical and monetary values of ecosystem services provided by the restored wetland mosaic compared with the former arable land. Overall results suggest that restoration is associated with a net gain to society as a whole of $199 ha−1y−1, for a one‐off investment in restoration of $2320 ha−1. Restoration has led to an estimated loss of arable production of $2040 ha−1y−1, but estimated gains of $671 ha−1y−1 in nature‐based recreation, $120 ha−1y−1 from grazing, $48 ha−1y−1 from flood protection, and a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worth an estimated $72 ha−1y−1. Management costs have also declined by an estimated $1325 ha−1y−1. Despite uncertainties associated with all measured values and the conservative assumptions used, we conclude that there was a substantial gain to society as a whole from this land‐use conversion. The beneficiaries also changed from local arable farmers under arable production to graziers, countryside users from towns and villages, and the global community, under restoration. We emphasize that the values reported here are not necessarily transferable to other sites.

Benefits of ecosystem restoration: Coastal and Land case studies

PDF icon v.ruiz_.pdf2.15 MB
Presentation in Horizon 2020 European Dialogue and Clustering Action "Transforming cities, enhancing wellbeing: innovating with nature-based solutions" (Coruna, Spain: 16-18 May 2018) about "Benefits of ecosystem restoration"

Betting against Human Ingenuity: The Perils of the Economic Valuation of Nature's Services

Citation: Kronenberg, J., 2015. Betting against Human Ingenuity: The Perils of the Economic Valuation of Nature’s Services. Bioscience 65, 1096–1099. doi:10.1093/biosci/biv135
Kronenberg J., BioScience, 2015
At the turn of the twentieth century, economic ornithologists focused on the monetary value of services provided by birds in order to fit nature conservation into the dominant economic paradigm. Pest control was of key interest because of its political importance and because it was relatively easy to quantify and monetize. However, this particular service became obsolete when a human-made solution was introduced that performed the same service - seemingly more cost effectively and reliably - undermining the political standing of economic ornithology. The broader external costs related to the replacement of birds' services by industrial pesticides were only discovered later. With their focus on the individual benefits that people derive from nature or even bundles of such benefits, the concepts of ecosystem services, the valuation of ecosystem services, and nature-based solutions expose nature conservation to similar risks, of which we may not yet be aware. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.

Biodiversity’s contribution to the quality of life

Citation: Stephen Lees, Phi Evans, 2003. Biodiversity’s contribution to the quality of life. A Research Report for English Nature. English Nature Research Reports Number 510
This report follows on from the English Nature report Revealing the Value of Nature and picks up in more detail references to quality of life. In today’s society, and with government looking at joined up thinking, it is important to assess the benefits achieved by the work of English Nature and other conservation organisations over and above that for nature conservation.

Biomanipulation as a nature-based solution to reduce cyanobacterial blooms

Citation: Triest, L., Stiers, I., Van Onsem, S., 2016. Biomanipulation as a nature-based solution to reduce cyanobacterial blooms. Aquat. Ecol. 50, 461–483. doi:10.1007/s10452-015-9548-x
Triest L., Stiers I., Van Onsem S., Aquatic Ecology, 2016
We considered the limnological literature for an overview of biomanipulation methods that were implemented to avoid or reduce cyanobacterial bloom development in ponds and lakes. For this purpose, we reviewed 48 publications representing 34 whole-lake and large-scale case studies of different biomanipulation approaches clearly mentioning the extent of a cyanobacteria bloom problem and the cyanobacteria taxa involved. This delivered complementary information to the suite of review papers already providing elaborated syntheses on biomanipulation and associated ecotechnological measures as a restoration tool for overall eutrophication reduction and control. We considered nature-based solutions such as fish removal and associated water drawdown, addition of piscivorous fish, filter-feeding planktivorous fish, Daphnia or bivalves, re-introduction of macrophytes and a combination of accompanying restoration methods. Reasons for success or failure to control cyanobacterial blooms of especially Anabaena,Pseudanabaena, Aphanizomenon, Aphanocapsa, Limnothrix, Microcystis, Oscillatoria or Spirulina spp. could be explained through bottlenecks encountered with fish removal, stocking densities, cascading effects, associated zooplankton grazing, diet shifts away from cyanobacteria, macrophyte recovery, nutrient or pH status. Threshold values to avoid failures are synthesized from experiments or monitoring studies and presented in a conceptual scheme about cyanobacteria reduction through (1) direct abatement of existing blooms and forcing/maximization of biotic key interactions (2) reducing risk of blooms and improving lake or pond multi-functionality and (3) avoiding blooms, balancing biotic communities and enhancing existing ecosystem services. More information will be required on temporal dynamics and abundances of cyanobacteria taxa in whole-lake pre- and post-biomanipulation conditions to better evaluate the applicability and effectiveness of such nature-based solutions. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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