Ecosystem service valuation at your fingertips: interactive tool for rapid valuation of ecosystem services launches online

23rd September 2014

A CCI collaboration has launched an online interactive tool that allows users to calculate the value of an ecosystem, and how its value will be affected by land use changes. Ecosystems provide a suite of benefits, known as ecosystem services; these services range from the provision of clean water to the prevention of storm damage. When ecosystems undergo change, such as the conversion of a forest into pasture, the services provided by that habitat are also affected. The Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment (TESSA) equips users with guidance and methods to be able to value the ecosystem services in a particular location, and also to examine how these services might be affected under different management scenarios. This information enables managers of sites to judge how alternative land use scenarios compare when it comes to their effects on ecosystem services.

TESSA has been developed by staff from six institutions, including CCI partners the University of Cambridge, BirdLife International, Tropical Biology Association, RSPB, and UNEP-WCMC, along with Anglia Ruskin University and others. This consortium embarked on the development of TESSA in 2009, as a means of addressing the lack of empirical studies of the net economic consequences of conservation at the site scale. Each partner in the consortium brought a different set of skills to the collaboration; the University of Cambridge’s Department of Zoology, for example, contributed their extensive experience of ecosystem service assessment, while BirdLife International provided links to national conservation organisations and their local stakeholders along with experience of on-the-ground conservation, working with local communities, and site-scale assessment and monitoring.  

Initially part-funded by CCI’s Collaborative Fund for Conservation, continued development of the Toolkit has been made possible by a number of funding sources. The development and launch of the interactive TESSA manual was funded by an Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account pilot grant awarded to Cambridge University.

To read more about TESSA see the article on the University of Cambridge news page

To download TESSA visit the TESSA page on the BirdLife International website