We can have a better development planning through the proper measurement and assessment of the ecosystem services



Posted on 04 June 2013  | 
• Peru, Brazil, Equator and Colombia shared experiences about the ecosystem services mapping through the InVEST tool, and its incorporation to the current political context.
• The InVEST tool can make important changes in the current landscape planning policies, through mapping aspects, quantification and assessment of the ecosystem services.

Lima, May 31. The ecosystem services, also called environmental services or natural capital, are those benefits provided by nature. These are very important because they support our livelihoods and are direct sources of clean air and water, animals and plants. Despite the Peruvian environmental legislation is gradually incorporating such benefits, these are not quite studied and valued, thus they are not considered in the territorial management; this increases its degradation and depletion. According to the 2005 report entitled “Millennium Ecosystem Assessment”, around 60% of the valued services are becoming depleted or have unsustainable practices.

In this regard, WWF Peru, supported by the Natural Capital Project (NATCAP), has been developing and strengthening capacities of different key stakeholders, such as the Ministry of the Environment, the Regional Government of Madre de Dios and other Civil Society members, regarding the use and application of the InVEST tool.

“This is only the first step towards an integrated decision making vision. We have been working alongside the Regional Government of Madre de Dios and other key stakeholders in order to map, quantify and assess the most priority ecosystem services of the Amazon, as well as assessing losses or profits according to different landscape planning alternatives. For that reason, during the following months, we will create future development scenarios in participatory workshops”, states Cecilia Álvarez, Coordinator of the Conservation Science Unit – WWF Peru.

WWF together with the Ministry of the Environment (MINAM) organized the first regional workshop “Ecosystem services mapping through InVEST tool for the decision-making process: an approach based on case studies in the Amazon” in order to take a further step and make changes within the current national policies. The event was attended by Instructors Nirmal Bhagabati and Michael Anderson (WWF US), Specialists from Brazil, Colombia, Equator and Peru, the Ministries of the Environment, Agriculture, and Energy and Mines, regional governments, NGOs and colleges on May 27 and 31. The main purpose was to receive training, share experiences and discuss the incorporation of ecosystem services assessment in the current political context.

InVEST is a tool used by decision-makers, scientists, landscape planning experts, environmental impact specialists and investors around the world. This tool allows mapping, quantifying and assessing the natural capital economically, socially and culturally, in order to contribute towards a future sustainability.

Next steps

Finally, Roger Loyola, General Director of Assessment, Evaluation and Financing of the Natural Heritage of the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment, expressed his joy for the participation of different organizations, and left open the possibility to form a teamwork that continues with capacity build-ups and generates synergy among different relevant organizations.“I am very happy for the accomplishments during this workshop; it has been definitely a proper space for sharing experiences with other countries regarding the ecosystem services analysis through the InVEST tool, and its application to current policies. It would be interesting to form a teamwork that continues with the assessment of such natural benefits and that ensures a better incorporation within decision-making processes of landscape planning.”

Thanks to the event organized by WWF Peru, the Ministry of the Environment and the Living Amazon Initiative, we have engaged different ministries, regional governments and other public organizations in order to develop a training regarding the use and application of this important tool that enables to line up conservation and economic development.

The Amazon rain forest, Loreto region, Peru
© Brent Stirton / WWF Perú Enlarge
Taller regional “Mapeo de Servicios Ecosistémicos con InVEST para el proceso de toma de decisiones: un abordaje a partir de estudios de caso en la Amazonía”
© Denise Oliveira / WWF Enlarge

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