Valuations of Ecological Assets and Services
The Value of Ecological Assets and Services
Society often uses well-established land and real estate appraisal methods for natural features that underestimate and fail to recognize the full scope of ecological values. Therefore, there is a need to more accurately establish the appraisal value of natural features based on dollar, aesthetic and natural values of the ecological assets and services.
Environmental Impact and Significance to the Community
Utilizing ecological valuation methods should result in greater conservation efforts and a more accurate ecological and economic assessment of the community's natural features. This will lead to a more effective distribution of ecological valuation information to City departments for their planning and use and eventually be incorporated into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Work in this area is ongoing and ties in with other Parks Environmental programs.
Work is ongoing in this area to more clearly establish the following:
- Definitions of natural features as ecological assets (e.g. planted City trees, natural treed and wetland areas, shrub beds, turf grass areas) and services (e.g. air and water cleansing, biodiversity production, aesthetic value). These can include 'protected ecological assets' (e.g. preserved natural tree stand) and functional protected assets (e.g. constructed wetlands that act as green infrastructure);
- The use of standardized and newly emerging valuation methods and Ecological Management System (EMS) database/mapping inventories to help calculate the monetary (dollar), aesthetic and natural values of the ecological assets and services in Red Deer and district;
- How the local economy can more accurately reflect ecological assets and services; and
- How City departments can more accurately assess and use the ecological valuations in their plans, guidelines and daily business.