Ecosystem services - making nature's values clearly visible
The prosperity we obtain from nature is often taken for granted. The idea is now for us to start counting the products and services that come from ecosystems. The aim is to increase awareness of just how valuable ecosystem services are for us.
- It is vitally important to recognise what the ecosystem provides us with. Ecosystem services are one part of what we call the natural and cultural heritage, and they are indispensable for our well-being, says Västarvet's developer, Anders Nilsson.
Ecosystem services are all the functions, products, services and values that ecosystems create and which people benefit from. These could be direct services such as food, fuel, oxygen and beauty, or indirect services like earth formation, pollination or photosynthesis.
Losses and risks
When we do not consider ecosystem services we create losses and risks, both for us living today and for future generations.
- When you talk about conserving nature's values, it has sometimes been understood as being reactionary. Ecosystem services are perceived as more forward-looking, progressive. It is about conserving in order to use. We must have food, water, pollination and aesthetic values in the future, too, says Anders Nilsson.
The valuation of ecosystem services can be made in different ways: qualitatively, quantitatively or monetarily. For example, the value of the pollination of crops by honey bees in Sweden is estimated to be between SEK 260-466 million.
By including ecosystem services in calculations, the idea is to make more true and correct socioeconomic analyses. Politicians, public authorities, companies, organisations and individuals are better able to make wise decisions on the path towards a more sustainable society.
Västarvet provides support
Examples include decisions regarding business development, or planning the use of land and water.
- Västarvet can provide support for municipal work on ecosystem services. We would now like to work with municipal ecologists in the four municipalities involved in the LAB190 project and drive the issue of ecosystem services in the green wedge between Gothenburg and Essunga, says Anders Nilsson.