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Ecosystem Services What Nature Does for Us.

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Presentation on theme: "Ecosystem Services What Nature Does for Us."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ecosystem Services What Nature Does for Us

2 Ecosystem Services Approach
Ecosystem – environment Ecosystem Services – the goods and services which the environment provides for people Ecosystem Services Approach – putting a value on these services and considering that value when making land and sea use decisions

3 Provisioning Services The products obtained from ecosystems
Renewable Energy Timber Livestock Crops Fisheries Drinking Water Provisioning Services The products obtained from ecosystems

4 Regulating Services The benefits obtained from ecosystem processes
Flood Control Water Purification Regulating Services The benefits obtained from ecosystem processes Pollination Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Carbon Storage

5 The non-material benefits of ecosystems
Scenery Tourism Sense of Place Cultural Services The non-material benefits of ecosystems Archaeology

6 The functions necessary for ecosystems to deliver services
Biodiversity Soil Formation Supporting Services The functions necessary for ecosystems to deliver services Water Cycling Nutrient Cycling

7 Northern Ireland’s Ecosystem Services
Scenery Renewable Energy Tourism Timber Livestock Crops Fisheries Drinking Water Flood Control Biodiversity Sense of Place Water Purification Carbon Storage Soil Formation Northern Ireland’s Ecosystem Services

8 New Jargon or New Thinking?
Accepted Internationally and at UK level – Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, UK National EA, TEEB, Nagoya treaty, UK Environment White Paper Natural Capital, Green Infrastructure Criticised for being ‘too human oriented’ – but any value is better than zero value

9 New Approach! Holistic, integrated, long term
Identifying ‘win-win’ outcomes Way to deliver legislation and policy Water Framework Directive Greenhouse Gas Targets Energy and Resource Efficiency Food and Energy Security Deal with Climate Change – resilience and adaptation; Low Carbon Economy

10 Integration ‘Effectively establishing coherent and resilient ecological networks on land and at sea requires a shift in emphasis, away from piecemeal conservation actions and towards a more effective, more integrated, landscape scale approach.’ Biodiversity 2020; a strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services DEFRA 2011

11 Framework & Evidence Baseline assessment – to monitor change
Linkages to other major strategies & themes Biodiversity – TEEB Landscape scale conservation Green infrastructure & Natural capital Climate change adaptation & mitigation Evocative & understandable language & rationale Highlights local action & financial benefits

12 The NI NEA

13 Northern Ireland’s Ecosystems

14 Land Uses % of Total Land Area (Northern Ireland)

15 Changes in Land Use


17 NEA – Next Steps Defra – £1.2 million / 18 months; Scottish Government – £10 million/ 5 years UK 4 priority areas Research and valuation Cultural Services Scenarios – future planning Promotion and Communication NIEA – Peatland Services DARD – Policy review

18 Value and Price Functioning ecosystems deliver Goods (public and private) These ‘goods’ have value (but are they valued?) Without a price, value is underestimated or ignored completely in political and developmental decisions Not easy Only provisioning is commonly given a financial value Others complex to evaluate - use proxies, partials

19 Is our Environment Valuable?
Globally degradation of ecosystems & services costs $50 billion annually In 2011 the historic environment of NI generated $287 million of output and sustains 5,400 FTE jobs In 2006 the environment contributed £573 million and accounted for 32,750 FTE jobs Ireland’s National Biodiversity Plan estimates value of ecosystem services at €2.6 billion/year

20 Valuing an Ecosystem

21 What does Peatland do for us?
Livestock grazing Fuel peat Wind farms Carbon storage Flood prevention Water purification Tourism Archaeological heritage Scenery Soil formation Biodiversity How can we obtain many of these outputs without endangering the ability to provide the others?

22 Ecosystems work for free!
But only if they’re cared for

23 Sustainable Catchment Management
Carbon Good WTW Carbon Bad WTW & Extension Peat: UK Store: 3 Billion tons carbon Well managed: absorb 400 Mt / a carbon / annum (50% of UK emissions) / Badly managed: Release 380 Mt / a carbon / annum Because the NI and UK Uplands climate is generally wet and cold then vegetation doesn’t decay - it is instead held in saturated mats which, over thousands of years, have become peat bogs. However, if these peat lands dry out in summer then air and oxygen can get into them. The peat begins to decay and lose its structure. When heavy rain occurs in autumn and winter there is no cohesion left and the peat breaks up and is washed away. For example, it has been reported that due to degradation of peat in the Peak District Yorkshire Water has at times had to desludge Ladybower 10 t/d (cost = £1,000 / day) NI Water Example: In early July 2004 a fire lasting a few days occurred in an area of blanket bog above the Mournes Silent Valley Reservoir covering approx 0.8km².  This occurred after a very dry spring, which whilst may have been due to natural climatic variations, is a weather pattern consistent with climate change predictions for NI. This fire had a considerable effect on the raw water quality for the NIW Drumaroad WTW as there was an immediate increase in colour and organics. It took until June 2006 for the raw water quality to significantly improve. Operational changes had to be implemented to maintain final water compliance. Our estimate increased operational cost due to this fire, excluding labour, are as follows: Chemical: £13,000 per annum (dosing to remove organics) Power: £10,000 per annum (increased M&E plant run hours) Sludge disposal: £90,000 per annum (as 2,000 tons per annum additional sludge generated) Therefore total additional cost to NIW = £113,000 pa x 2 years = £226,000 SCAMP Funding secured through PC10: £320K Implementation through working in partnership with key Stakeholders initially to identify some pilot projects:- RSPB - Antrim Hill Peatbog Restoration/Farming practices Mourne Heritage Trust - Eastern Mournes – grazing to be reintroduced in March 2011, possible Heathland restoration exploratory work Woodland Trust - Remediation of WTW sludge areas and buffer zones with willows/native species 23

24 Drivers of Change

25 The Ecosystem Services Approach
Determine what public goods – including energy, food and their security – Northern Ireland wants its land to provide Compare this with the capacity of different ecosystems and areas to deliver different services Develop policy and fiscal incentives to encourage the use of land to provide multiple ecosystem services suited to the capacity of the land to deliver, taking care to avoid unintended or perverse outcomes

26 Realising Land Capability
The capability of land to provide different services depends upon its inherent characteristics and land use history. Soil type Soil quality Water availability Natural ecosystems Current and historical vegetation Not all land is suitable for all uses. Land use decisions should be based on capability of the land and society’s needs

27 How Do We Manage Land?

28 We are Ignorant – but it’s no Excuse
No perfect valuation for ecosystem services in NI (or anywhere else) We do know: What they are and what they do for us They need to be actively protected They incur costs if degraded (fire, alien species) They cost to replace (pollination, water purification) Try to avoid unintended consequences Manage to enhance resilience

29 A Systems Approach What type of system is this?
Grass Forest Moorland Bare ground Water Pollination Educational Aesthetic Cultural Heritage Inspirational Spiritual Food Freshwater Fuel and Energy Wood Fibre Genetic resources Water Regulation Disease Regulation Pollution Control Water Purification Nutrient cycling Primary production Soil formation What type of system is this? How can we describe this system? How does this system work? Is this system working well – is it sustainable? How do we value this system? How is this system changing? What causes this system to change? How might this system change? What differences will system change produce? How should this system change?


31 Benefits of the Approach
Increase long term resilience of policies and actions Reduce risks from failure of natural systems Reduce public costs of degraded systems Help to deliver policy objectives Delivers other aspects of legislation and policy

32 Today’s Work How can adopting the ecosystem services approach help to address many of the issues facing Northern Ireland’s environment, economy and rural community? How can the ecosystem approach help DARD deliver its legislative requirements and policy commitments?

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