Ecosystem services can be valued too

Eleven African nations are considering how to manage natural capital in terms of tangible and intangible assets rather than just on the basis of agricultural or economic productivity.

The website of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) carries a story about how scientists are working with Eastern African land policy makers to promote more sustainable land practices following a workshop organized by the Global Mechanism (GM) and the Offering Sustainable Land-use Options (OSLO) consortium held in December 2012.

The countries involved are Burundi, Comoros, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. “Ministries in charge of land, land allocation, finance and planning as well as land valuers and real estate surveyors are building their capacities to consider the monetary values of all the ecosystem services land provides,” says the article.

There is evidence that by considering the value of services such as carbon sequestration, air and water purification, nutrient cycling and pollination, better land-use decisions can be made. The long-term aim is for ecosystem services to be incorporated into financial and investment decisions; bridging the gap between science, policy and practice.

The article includes answers provided during an interview with Simone Quatrini, Global Mechanism (GM) Coordinator for Policy & Investment Analysis, about how the economic valuation of land (EVL) would operate, the evidence for it should be put into practice and more about the OSLO mechanism.

Read the full story: Policy makers and scientists join forces to value land and all its services