Nature in the Nene Valley is worth £118.7 million per year
The benefits that people derive from the natural environment are known as ecosystem services. They are critical to our wellbeing and economic prosperity, yet are consistently undervalued in decision-making. By identifying, mapping and valuing ecosystem services in the Nene Valley we are improving our understanding of the importance of the natural environment for people and the economy.
What does nature do for us? On initial thought the natural world may just be somewhere to go for a walk, or where you might find some wildlife. However, there is far more to it than that. The natural environment is key to all of us; if it was to become too badly degraded we would not be able to exist. We rely on water in rivers and aquifers to drink, food grown on good soil and pollinated by insects to eat, clean air purified by trees to breathe, and green spaces to exercise and relax.
Green spaces are valued by people for a whole range of reasons; from providing opportunities for exercise, to de-stress, or for appreciation of wildlife. Please let us know which spaces you value and why by marking them on the Interactive map.
We have assessed that ecosystem services in the Nene Valley are valued at £118.7M each year. On average, each hectare of land delivers £2,862 of services per year. This assessment includes only a few of the services that we could value; soaking up carbon dioxide, pollination of crops and orchard fruits, and the money spent on recreational visits. The value of all ecosystem services will be considerably higher.
We have mapped a range of other ecosystem services on which it is difficult to place a monetary value. This includes local climate regulation, noise regulation, water purification, accessible nature experience, landscape aesthetics, and timber production. Maps have also been produced showing biodiversity: 265,000 species records have been mapped to show us where our wildlife hot-spots are.
Enhancing nature conservation
This information is being used to identify the links between biodiversity and ecosystem services, and locate land which is delivering many different services. From this we can target areas to conserve and areas to manage better, or differently. An introduction to ecosystem services has been written, and by working with local planning authorities, these principles have been embedded into planning policies that will guide planning and development for the next 20 years.
Photo: Northampton Washlands, RNRP
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