Understanding Ecosystem Services and the economic value of minerals sites restoration
This work area measures and values the potential ecosystem services and benefits that can come from restoring mineral sites in different ways. This is done to inform restoration planning and decision making of the the potential of such approaches and to highlight the value and importance of quarry restoration for society. This is explored in some detail in the booklet (see above)
Restored quarries can deliver a range of ecosystem services along with biodiversity. Specific landscape, soil and micro-climate conditions provide different habitats for endangered and/or protected species. Sensitive restoration design and implementation means their unique landscape features, like the rocky slopes of former limestone quarries, also have a high aesthetic quality in the landscape, which might be scarce in the highly developed landscapes of much of northwest Europe. People visit restored quarries to appreciate attractive landscapes and to experience nature and for recreation such as hiking. Meanwhile, the vegetation in restored quarries, depending on the habitats present, can be a valuable store of carbon and so help reduce the effects of emissions of greenhouse gases, and can also support agricultural production: meadows may be grazed by cows or goats, which produce milk, cheese and meat, or former quarries may be used to cultivate crops.
It is possible to measure the quantity of benefits some ecosystem services supply. Data can be collected via field work on biophysical characteristics (e.g. carbon storage, food production, number of visitors), or assessed by using appropriate published data. These can then be valued in monetary terms. Comparing the quantity of benefits provided helps to give have a better idea of the restoration alternatives and their specific characteristics, which helps decision makers to have some understanding of the ecosystem services the alternatives will be providing. But then, which has a higher value in a specific quarry? for exampled, untouched nature, recreational access, farmland provision, etc. – or a mix of all? A set of methods exist to derive monetary values for ecosystem service benefits (please refer to the Economic Valuation Report in downloads). In RESTORE, we view the results of an economic valuation approach as a supportive element in decision-making processes, as they help to inform stakeholders in the specific context of the specific restored site: there are always unique historical, cultural, natural, soil, climate and legislative conditions that need to be equally assessed when deciding on restoration.
RESTORE investigated 10 case studies across North-West Europe employing the methodology from the TESSA tool kit and when appropriate adding extra components of economic valuation such as contingent valuation or choice modelling to it (see the Interim Summary Report in Downloads). Each case study has different characteristics; substrate, location, size and restoration states. The selection of case studies allows a comprehensive investigation, and emphasises the importance of considering site specific characteristics. The ecosystem services provided by the current, or planned restoration state, and by a reasonable, alternative restoration state were analysed and valued for each case study. Field data were collected on each site, by eg taking soil samples, habitat analysis, as well as visitor surveys conducted to assess people`s perception, preference and appreciation of the different restoration alternatives and the related ecosystem services.
A report reviewing existing economic valuation methods to capture ecosystem service benefits of quarry restorations
Download RESTORE project information leaflet for the Ecosystem Services workstream below (in English)
Download Ecosystem Services valuation factsheets for case study sites below (in English)
Measuring Ecosystem Services of Restored Quarries: an Interim Summary Report of the assessments undertaken during the RESTORE Project
NEW: Just published (October 2015)
New keynote RESTORE report: Economic analysis of ecosystem service benefits through quarry restoration
The intention of the report is to inform the broader public about important outcomes of the RESTORE project ecosystem services evaluation work, to discuss the implications of these results, and to highlight the potential of embedding ES assessment and ES benefits valuation into restoration policy and practice for better suited decisions.
NEW: Just published ( summer 2015)
A booklet on Ecosystem Services Assessment and Valuation work undertaken by RESTORE, prepared by staff of ILS.
"How best to RESTORE quarries; Assess and Valuing Ecosystem Services".
French Summary; "Comment réaménager au mieux les carriers; en déterminant et évaluant les services éco-systémiques" Click to download here
German Summary; "Erfolgreiche rekultivierung von tagebauflächen; durch bewertung von ökosystemdienstleistungen" Click to download here
Dutch Summary; "Groeven herinrichten met behulp van economische afweging van ecosysteemdiensten" Click to download here