Monday, November 7, 2011

Ecosystem Services Toolkit

Carbon services included...

A ‘toolkit’ for measuring ecosystem services at the site scale is released

'Measuring and Monitoring Ecosystem Services at the Site Scale' introduces a new ‘toolkit’ for measuring ecosystem services at the site scale which is accessible to non-experts and delivers scientifically robust results. This booklet explains some key concepts including the need to consider a ‘plausible alternative state’ to measure differences resulting from changes in land management and use, and the importance of identifying beneficiaries.

The work has been coordinated by researchers and conservation biologists from Anglia Ruskin University, BirdLife International, Cambridge University, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, with input and guidance provided by over 50 other scientists.

What can the toolkit do?
  • Help users with limited capacity (technical knowledge, time) and resources (money, ‘man’ power) to measure ecosystem services.
  • Provide simple gross assessments of ecosystem services at sites, and a way of assessing how these would change if the sites were altered.
  • Provide scientifically robust information on ecosystem services—a first step which can guide practitioners on whether more detailed studies would be useful.
  • Indicate who will be the ‘winners’ and who will be the ‘losers’ as a result of any change in land use and ecosystem service delivery.
  • Help decision-makers appreciate the true value of nature, and the consequences of destruction and degradation of natural habitats.
The methods and approaches presented in the toolkit have been tested at four sites to-date (2011), including Shivapuri–Nagarjun National Park (Nepal), Phulchoki Mountain Forest (Nepal), Montserrat Centre Hills (Montserrat) and Wicken Fen (UK), with implementation and support from Bird Conservation Nepal, the Department of Environment in Montserrat and the National Trust in the UK. In 2012, there are plans for further testing at a number of additional sites and publication of the methods and results through the peer-reviewed scientific literature, as well as the development of a ‘toolkit’ user-manual.

The toolkit has been developed, thus far, through two projects: A Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) project entitled ‘Measuring and monitoring ecosystem services at the site scale: building practical tools for real-world conservation’ and a BirdLife International / Darwin Initiative project entitled ‘Understanding, assessing and monitoring ecosystem services for better biodiversity conservation’.

The booklet is available to download below: