Category Archives: Guidance > Markets & Metrics

The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in Ontario (TEEBO) 2018 update

This report aims to inform Ontarians about key economic issues involving ecosystem services and biodiversity in Ontario. These are considered together because their economic issues are similar. This follows the practice of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), of which Canada is a member.

This report updates an earlier 2012 report with the same title (Miller & Lloyd-Smith, 2012). The present report includes new information and sources, removes some outdated material, and adjusts the amount and ordering of some content.

Many professions and sectors of the marketplace are taking an interest in this subject. Businesses and investors are improving the ways that they measure and manage their interactions with ecosystems, with the aid of accounting professionals. Professional planners, engineers, and infrastructure specialists are improving their conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, and the use of green infrastructure. Public health professionals are discovering how human health is dependent upon the health of biodiverse ecosystems. Ecological economists and other economists are working to recalibrate economic signals and policies for the sustenance of life on Earth.

Market prices fail to reflect the full economic value of nature. A solution is for economists to generate non-market values, using specific valuation techniques that quantify the importance of changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services. The resulting information helps to make land-use decisions more effective, balance sheets more complete, and economic accounts more comprehensive. All of this enhances efficiency and sustainability, especially when used with economic instruments. Economic instruments aim to more closely align economic self-interest with shared interests in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Several instruments are available, including ones that affect information, prices, quantities, and legal liabilities, and behaviour.

Fortunately non-market values and economic instruments are increasingly prevalent in Ontario. This is helping several policies and practices that mandate their consideration.

Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

Sections PS 1000, PS 1201: Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

A summary of a discussion by the Public Sector Accounting Group (of the Public Sector Accounting Board – PSB) on the barriers and opportunities of treating urban trees and forests as municipal assets. (starts on page 15)

Ecosystem Services Toolkit: Completing and Using Ecosystem Service Assessment for Decision-Making – An Interdisciplinary Toolkit for Managers and Analysts

The Ecosystem Services Toolkit is a technical guide to ecosystem services assessment and analysis that offers practical, step-by-step guidance for governments at all levels, as well as for consultants and researchers. The approach is fully interdisciplinary, integrating biophysical sciences, social sciences, economics, and traditional and practitioner knowledge. It provides guidance on how to consider and incorporate ecosystem services analysis in a variety of different policy contexts such as spatial planning, environmental assessment, and wildlife management, among others. It contains numerous innovative tools and resources designed to enhance users’ understanding of ecosystem services and to support analysis and decision-making. Canadian examples are featured throughout the guide.

Fostering the Provisioning of Ecosystem Services by Private Landowners

The past decade has witnessed a burgeoning interest within scholarly and applied circles in the re-casting of environmental amenities as commodities for trade, marketable in much the same way as a loaf of bread or a quart of strawberries. With the ostensibly growing foothold of the ‘ecosystem services’ (ES) paradigm, the public good nature of environmental stewardship has been thrust into the limelight. The newly-emergent perspective holds thus: given that individual landowners are expected to bear the responsibility of meeting heightened standards of environmental protection through additional expenditures or foregone development opportunities, and yet society at large reaps the benefits, they should be remunerated by society.
This thesis explores the governance arrangements that would serve to foster the provisioning of ES by private landowners. A heuristic framework is first developed, offering a means of systematically contemplating critical issues influencing the viability and performance of ES governance alternatives. Set in eastern Ontario, the empirical portion of the research assesses the interests of landowners, and program and policy professionals, for different ES governance mechanisms. In brief, interests were varied, with an openness to a range of arrangements. Notably, preferences tended toward arrangements exhibiting cooperative and collaborative leanings, and away from those with competitive underpinnings. These understandings inform the elaboration of a set of high-order design features envisioned as preconditions in a governance ‘architecture’ supportive of the provisioning of ES. The findings suggest that a more open embrace of hybridity in institutional arrangements may offer a way forward as ES governance alternatives continue to be conceived. They also point to the need for a re-imagining and re-constituting of relationships such that they truly embrace the principles of mutual regard, reciprocity, and trust; such ‘relations of regard’ may serve to realize a renewed social contract between those working the land, and those looking on from beyond the farm (or woodlot) gate. Consistent with this suggestion, the findings underscore the need for a greater sensibility to the diverse motivations that inspire the provisioning of ES. In contemplating prospects for reflexive governance approaches to enhance the provisioning of ES, the findings suggest reason for cautious optimism.

The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity in Ontario (TEEBO)

This report identifies over 50 key questions about the economics of ecosystem services and biodiversity. Answers to these questions draw upon the latest insights and initiatives that are relevant to Ontario and the Ontario Biodiversity Strategy. The result is a report that addresses: 1) the economic valuation of nature’s benefits that are mostly unpriced; 2) the accounting of these values so they can be measured and managed along with traditional economic information; 3) the conservation of these values using innovative approaches known as economic instruments.