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Ontario’s Wealth, Canada’s Future: Appreciating the Value of the Greenbelt’s Eco-Services

by NationTalk on September 10, 20081556 Views

Executive Summary

The Greenbelt, which covers over 1.8 million acres, was designed to safeguard key environmentally sensitive land, watersheds, and farmlands that provide essential ecosystem services for quality of life in this densely populated area of Canada. This protected region includes green space, farmland, communities, forests, wetlands, and watersheds, including habitat for more than one-third of Ontario’s species at risk.Placing a value on nature

Recognition for the irreplaceable value of ecosystem services and the impact of human development on them is emerging nationally and globally. For instance, the United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that about 60 per cent of the world’s ecosystems are being used at an unsustainable rate. The creation of the Greater Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt is a leading example of land-use planning that protects the essential ecosystem services that sustain air and water quality, local food production, and quality of life for the region. However, public knowledge of the vital role these services play in human life is limited, so it is critical that communities have access to information on the value of natural areas.

This report quantifies the value of the ecosystem services provided by the Greenbelt’s natural capital, revealing the annual value of the region’s measurable non-market ecosystem services at an estimated $2.6 billion annually; an average value of $3,487 per hectare. This estimated value is likely a conservative estimate, due to the incomplete understanding of all the benefits provided by nature, the intrinsic value of nature itself and the likely increase in ecosystem service value over time. It does, however, provide an estimate of the current benefits of the Greenbelt and the potential costs of human impact if natural capital is depleted.

DOWNLOAD Ontario’s Wealth, Canada’s Future: Appreciating the Value of the Greenbelt’s Eco-Services.

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