Demonstrating ecosystem service values in Africa

Despite growing awareness of the importance of ecosystem services in supporting human well-being, conservationists are rarely able to provide policy-makers with robust information about the overall consequences of land use decisions. Existing locally-relevant data are too patchy and the methods, skills and resources needed to collect new information are typically unavailable. To address this issue, a consortium of organisations (under the umbrella of CCI) has developed an ecosystem services ‘toolkit’ that measures multiple services delivered by a site. The toolkit can demonstrate the ‘added value’ that high biodiversity sites often provide in terms of human well-being benefits. These benefits may occur at the local, national or global scale. It therefore promotes a better understanding of the social, political and economic factors related to site conservation and what could be done to achieve better outcomes for both biodiversity and human livelihoods.

This project was funded by the CCI Collaborative Fund for Conservation.

Project Aims

This eighteen month project will train 10 African conservationists (and their institutions) to conduct ecosystem services assessments and use the results to promote better policy decisions. Selected participants will attend a practical training workshop prior to implementing the toolkit at several threatened high biodiversity sites in the region. A follow up workshop in the second year will provide support in analysing and interpreting their results for a policy audience. Capacity building through this project will therefore enable practitioners to work at the science-policy interface, to better inform real-world decision making.

Other outcomes from the project include greater awareness of the ecosystem services approach and engagement of more people in using the CCI toolkit for site-based conservation. The project will also contribute to generating novel data for future global meta-analysis of site-scale ecosystem service values and participants will provide useful feedback to help modify and improve the toolkit for wider use.

CCI partners Involved

Tropical Biology Association is dedicated to building the capacity and expertise of people and institutions to conserve and manage biodiversity in tropical regions. Its network spans 40 countries.
The Department of Geography's research clusters focus on society and environment, development and political ecology, culture and demography, environmental processes, landscape modelling and climate...
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. It is the largest wildlife conservation organisation in...
The Department of Zoology carries out wide-ranging work in ecology and conservation including conservation science, aquatic ecology, pathogen evolution and evolutionary ecology. Research of the...
BirdLife International is a strategic global partnership of conservation organisations in over 100 countries, working to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity, and to promote...
The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is the specialist biodiversity assessment arm of the United Nations Environment Programme, the world’s foremost intergovernmental...

Other Organisations Involved

Related Resources

Resource Title Description Type
TESSA: A toolkit for rapid assessment of ecosystem services at sites of biodiversity conservation importance Many sites that are important for biodiversity conservation also provide significant benefits (i.e. ecosystem services) to people. Understanding the effects of changes to a site on the the delivery... Journal articles