Natural Assets Deliver Significant Benefits to Our Lives
Natural assets, including forests, wetlands, meadows and streams, sustain our lives and benefit our health and wellbeing. They:
- Clean our air
- Protect us and our property from flooding
- Protect us from heat during summer
- Provide opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking and fishing
- Contribute to our mental and physical health
Our natural assets need to be properly managed to ensure that they can keep providing these important benefits, which we call ecosystem goods and services. This is important because:
- Climate change and land-use change can reduce or eliminate the abilities of natural assets to provide these important services.
- Building infrastructure to replace ecosystem services (e.g. a stormwater pond for flood protection) is very costly.
- Some benefits, such as nature’s ability to clean our air or regulate our climate, cannot yet be replaced with any technology.
We work to measure and estimate the monetary value of these benefits to help inform the management of these assets.
Estimating Value of Ecosystem Goods and Services
Unlike commonly traded goods and services, most ecosystem goods and services do not have clear prices in the marketplace. Our work involves using various methods to estimate the monetary value of our ecosystem goods and services from natural assets. Doing so can help policymakers and citizens to better manage natural assets to ensure a flow of benefits for generations to come.
We are working with our municipal partners to build evidence and develop guidance for our natural assets. Our work continues to demonstrate that properly managing and enhancing natural assets is a critical and cost-effective strategy for sustainable growth and developing resiliency to the impacts of climate change.
Our Ecosystem Goods and Services Tools
We estimated costs and benefits of managing natural assets in two case study areas in Peel, under different risk scenarios.
We developed a simple and expedient approach for municipal staff to assess natural asset condition by collecting field data. Appendices 1-3 of the report describe the Rapid Condition Assessment Methodology developed by CVC.