The economic value of Canada’s National Capital Green Network

The lack of information on the value of ecosystems contributing to human well-being in urban and peri-urban setting is known to contribute to the degradation of natural capital and ecosystem services (ES). The purpose of this study was to determine the economic value of ES in Canada’s Capital Region (Ottawa-Gatineau region), so that these values can be integrated in future planning decisions. Using the valuation methods of market pricing, cost replacement, and two benefit transfer approaches (with adjustment and with meta-analysis), the value of 13 ES from five ecosystems (forests, wetlands, croplands, prairies and grasslands, and freshwater systems) was measured. The annual economic value of these 13 ES amounts to an average of 332 million dollars, and to a total economic value of over 5 billion dollars, annualized over 20 years. The largest part of this value is generated by nonmarket ES, indicating that much more emphasis should be put on the management, preservation, and understanding of processes that make up these types of ES. The work generated as part of this study is a first step towards operationalizing the concept of ES in planning. More specifically, these results can be used to raise awareness, but also as a stepping stone to improve ecosystem-wide planning in the Canada’s Capital Region.

L'Ecuyer-Sauvageau C., Dupras J., He J., Auclair J., Kermagoret C., Poder T.G. (2021) The economic value of Canada’s National Capital Green Network, PLoS ONE vol. 16(1) p. e0245045.