Valuing Ecosystem Services
In spite of the wide range of Ecosystem Services provided by natural habitats, and without which people cannot survive, we assign little monetary value to them. Because of this, we do not always notice when habitats are destroyed or damaged. Attaching a value to the services provided by natural ecosystems clearly illustrates their importance to human well-being and can help create direct incentives to preserve these habitats. WLT partners identify key habitats and WLT helps to raise the funds to acquire and manage them. In so doing, we protect not only the site's biodiversity, but also the Ecosystem Services provided.
In future, characterising and quantifying the range of Ecosystem Services provided by terrestrial and marine habitats throughout the world may help to secure the funding needed to guarantee their preservation and management. WLT's Carbon Balanced and validated REDD+ projects already quantify the carbon sequestration value of these terrestrial habitats and we will increasingly look to do the same for the other Ecosystem Services they provide. This is exemplified by WLT's work with partner Nature & Culture International to secure the water resource protection values of forests in south-eastern Ecuador.