Over the recent years an array of tools for assessing ecosystem services and related socio-economic benefits have been developed. While a positive trend, selecting a tool for a specific context, and given particular resource constraints, can be challenging and time consuming for practitioners.
Navigating through the multiverse of tools is, however, important. Finding the right tool – or set of tools – to successfully identify and quantify the benefits provided by important areas for biodiversity can help decision-makers and protected area managers justify the importance of conserving them. It can also help attract new sources of funding and manage the sites more effective. Furthermore, the assessment of ecosystem services and related socio-economic benefits can help the sites become concrete vehicles for the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The new guidance by IUCN experts helps identify an appropriate tool for ecosystem service assessment, with particular focus on protected areas (e.g. natural World Heritage sites) and Key Biodiversity Areas(KBAs).
The guidance reviews nine ecosystem service assessment tools currently available, shortlisted due to their free availability and applicability in the context of protected areas, KBAs and natural World Heritage sites. Dedicated decision trees help guide the practitioner through the selection process among these tools, with descriptions and practical considerations – such as resources and time requirements – provided for each tool. Finally, a selection of case studies provides examples of application for the main tools discussed.
Please see Neugarten et al. (2018) Tools for measuring, modelling, and valuing ecosystem services: guidance for Key Biodiversity Areas, natural World Heritage sites, and protected areas.