Category Archives: Data > Primary Research & Analysis

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)

Ecosystems valuation analysis on off-site benefits from protected areas

In May 2013, Spatial Informatics Group submitted a report to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources which presented an ecosystems valuation analysis on the off-site benefits from protected areas’ ecosystem services in Ontario. Two approaches were used in this study. The value transfer approach was used to assess the North Shore area. Four ecosystem service models were developed using the ARIES (ARtificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services) approach to assess the Algonquin Provincial Park and Lake of the Woods region. Recognizing the socio-economic, biophysical and recreational aspects of different lands under park management, the findings from this report confirm that the models developed for this study could be transferred or adapted to similar contextual settings. It was concluded that the ecosystem services framework is a very valuable tool for assessing and measuring the contributions of parks and protected areas and for evaluating the potential impacts of alternative management scenarios.

Ontario Nature’s Report on Biodiversity Offsetting: First-Year Results

With the support of Metcalf Foundation, Ontario Nature initiated a project on biodiversity offsetting in July 2013 to explore the issues, risks and benefits of biodiversity offsetting with a diverse group of stakeholders and its implications in a policy context. This report presents the first-year results of this project.

Canadian Nature Survey

This document reports the results of a 2012 mail and web survey of Canadians about their awareness, participation, and expenditures in nature-based recreation, conservation, and subsistence activities. Most results are broken out by province, including Ontario which had a sample of 2011 address-based responses and 4,584 web responses for a combined sample of 5,595 people. Of note is data about respondents’ awareness of “ecosystem services” and whether they had been directly affected by the loss of an ecosystem service. Results provide insights into how Canadians obtain information about nature, and with information about perceptions, could be useful to help inform communications. (Available in English and French)

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada presents information on the quantity, quality and value of Canada’s ecosystems and ecosystem goods and services (EGS). The report presents preliminary results achieved through a two-year interdepartmental project to develop experimental ecosystem accounts and the required statistical infrastructure. It provides an overview of ecosystem accounting and valuation, several measures of the quantity and quality of ecosystems and their goods and services, a case study for valuing EGS, and a research agenda for future work in this area.

Estimation of the Passive Use Values Associated with Future Expansion of Provincial Parks and Protected Areas in Southern Ontario

Results from this paper provide estimates of the social benefits associated with an expansion of the protected area network in the Mixedwood Plains of southern Ontario. In addition the social costs and benefits were estimated for a hypothetical expansion of the protected areas system in Ecodistrict 6E-12 (Kemptville), a region within the Mixedwood Plains. The costs were approximated with a hedonic model of land characteristics used to predict the
acquisition costs of future land purchases necessary to expand the protected area network in 6E-12. The benefit side in 6E-12 was represented by passive-use values measured by the public willingness to pay for expanding the protected area network.

The valuation of wetland conservation in an urban/peri urban watershed

This study estimates the social benefits of wetland conservation in the Credit River watershed, located in an urban/peri urban area in Southern Ontario, Canada. A stated preference approach was employed to value wetland conservation programs which ranged from retaining the existing wetlands to restoring various levels of acres of wetlands over the 2009–2020 period. A total of 1,407 households completed an internet-based survey which presented trade-offs in binary choice scenarios framed as referenda. Responses were analyzed using various models, one of which was a latent class analysis which segmented respondents into three classes. This econometric approach uncovered significant preference heterogeneity for wetland conservation. Assignment of respondents to the classes suggested that about one-third of the sample was willing to pay small amounts to retain the existing wetlands. An additional third was willing to pay several hundred dollars a year for retention and small positive amounts for additional restoration. The final third were apparently willing to pay considerable sums for retention, but lesser amounts for additional restoration. However, further analysis revealed that respondents in this third class largely constituted yea-sayers. These results suggest caution in interpreting associated economic valuation estimates and highlight the importance of attempting to understand hypothetical bias in wetland and other such valuation studies.

Willingness to pay for water quality and supply enhancements in the Grand River watershed

This paper reports the results of a large contingent valuation survey to estimate the social benefits of water quality improvements in the watershed. Early results indicate a willingness to pay (WTP) for residential water quality improvements of up to $4.50 per household per month (19% of the average water bill), with a somewhat lower value for preserving the environmental quality of parkland in the watershed. Using a 5% discount rate, this translates into a demand for water quality projects in the region with a capital value of nearly 91100 per household. The narrowness of the estimated range of WTP values, and their similarity to values found in other studies, suggests that our estimates are a reliable measure of the monetary value of social benefits from water quality improvements in the region. The main socio-economic determinants of willingness to pay appear to be household income, number of children, perception of existing water quality, and awareness of environmental issues on the part of survey respondents.

Valuing Wetland Services in Southern Ontario’s Credit River Watershed Using the Contingent Valuation Method

This study uses the contingent valuation method to estimate the value of retaining and restoring wetland services in the Credit River Watershed. A sample of the population was surveyed on their willingness to pay for hypothetical programs to restore wetlands. Respondents were asked about their knowledge of wetlands and their views on the costs of restoration. The authors also calculated willingness-to-pay estimates for the retention of the wetlands.