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Valuing Nature: Protected Areas and Ecosystem Services

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Valuing Nature

The Australian Committee for IUCN (ACIUCN) and its partners are proud to announce a new publication Valuing Nature: Protected Areas and Ecosystem Services. This publication is based on the presentations made to the Valuing Nature Symposium held on 21-22 July 2014 in Brisbane, the fifth in the ACIUCN Science Informing Policy Symposium Series.

The symposium and publication were made possible by the collaboration of Griffith University (Climate Change Response Program), The Nature Conservancy, Parks Victoria, Pew Charitable Trusts and the Australian Conservation Foundation. The South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources contributed the design and production of this publication.

The symposium had its catalyst in the compelling fact that the world’s ecosystems and the myriad life forms they support, from mountains and oceans to forests wetlands and arctic ice, hold multiple values and deliver many benefits or ‘services’. They are the fundamental underpinning of life on Earth. Their rich values and services are crucial to human livelihoods, cultures, economies and well-being. However, while National GDPs may be growing overall, both ecosystems and the benefits they support are declining at unprecedented rates.

In particular, the symposium partners were concerned that the critical role played by protected areas in maintaining these ecosystem services and their benefits is often missing from policy and decision making. The result is that protected areas are often narrowly valued and inadequately recognised in public policy. To address this challenge requires sound policy at local, national and international levels.

Through gathering the thinking of many of Australia’s leading experts and several international contributors, this publication aims to convey a better understanding of the centrality of ecosystems to humanity’s wellbeing and future and highlight the particular importance of protected areas - the lands and seas dedicated to conservation. The contributions illustrate how better accounting of ecosystem services can help provide the evidence to support maintaining and continuing to build protected area systems, manage their health and integrity and avoid backward steps, erosion and undervaluation.

The publication provides decision makers with science-based and independent information to inform better policy and students will benefit from a broad spectrum of current information and views.


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Chapter 1: Introduction – Brendan Mackey, Penelope Figgis, James Fitzsimons, Jason Irving and Pepe Clarke

Section 1 - The value of ecosystems: fundamental concepts and approaches

Chapter 2: Ecosystem services in theory and practice – Robert Costanza

Chapter 3: Valuing nature’s green infrastructure in Australia – Paul Sinclair

Chapter 4: Building a global science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services – Mark Lonsdale

Chapter 5: New Zealand perspectives on Natural Capital and ecosystems – Georgina Langdale

Section 2 – Perspectives on natural systems

Chapter 6: Ecosystems as country, law, culture and futures: an indigenous perspective – Ron Archer

Chapter 7: Quantifying the health and wellbeing benefits of nature – Mardie Townsend

Chapter 8: Applying an ecosystems approach to large landscapes – Barry Traill

Chapter 9: Pastoralism and biodiversity conservation in the tropical north of Australia – Romy Greiner

Chapter 10: Nature as inspiration: valuing aesthetic and cultural landscapes – Marian Drew

Section 3 – Protected areas and their role in holding natural values

Chapter 11: A global perspective on the role of protected areas in protecting natural capital – James Watson

Chapter 12: Valuing protected areas: the case for international payments for ecosystem services – Joshua Bishop

Chapter 13: Protected areas and an adaptation based approach to climate change mitigation and adaptation – Brendan Mackey

Chapter 14: A framework for monitoring the status of Australia’s ecosystems based on IUCN’s new global standard – David A. Keith, Jon Paul Rodriguez and Edmund G. Barrow

Section 4 – Case studies of protected areas and ecosystem services

Chapter 15: Ecosystem services at Thousand Islands National Park, Ontario, Canada – Dan Mulrooney

Chapter 16: Payment for ecosystem services in practice – savanna burning and carbon abatement at Fish River, northern Australia – Nerissa Walton and James Fitzsimons

Chapter 17: Value of ecosystem service benefits from the marine environment and the importance of MPAs – Paul Marshall

Chapter 18: Protected areas and water catchments: the Australian Alps – Graeme L. Worboys

Chapter 19: Ecosystem accounts for the Great Barrier Reef: use of System of Environmental – Economic Accounting (SEEA) – Mark Lound

Chapter 20: Understanding how healthy ecosystems in protected areas benefit tourism – Paul A. Whitelaw and Phil Partalis

Section 5 – Valuing nature: the future

Chapter 21: Public perceptions and challenges of communicating the value of ecosystems and protected areas – Paul Sheridan

Chapter 22: Message testing nature – Jess Abrahams

Chapter 23: Natural solutions: embedding ecosystem understanding in protected area policy in Australia – Peter Cochrane

Chapter 24: The value of Victoria’s parks: a new framework for valuation and accounting of park ecosystem services – Tony Varcoe, Helen Betts O’Shea, Mark Eigenraam and Bill Jackson


Key directions for valuing ecosystem services and protected areas in Australia – Brendan Mackey, Penelope Figgis, James Fitzsimons, Jason Irving and Pepe Clarke


IQ2 Debate: Should we Price Nature to Protect It?

Watch lead editor, Penelope Figgis AO, discuss the issues around valuing nature in the St James Centre IQ2 Debate at City Recital Hall, Sydney on 21 July 2015

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