The value of a field of wheat can easily be calculated. The value of an area of wetland is far less obvious, yet is important to understand if land is to be managed sustainably for maximum benefit. A group of CCI partners identified the need for a tool providing guidance on low-cost methods to value nature and the benefits it provides at specific sites, to help influence decisions about land use across the globe.

This collaboration was made possible by the CCI Collaborative Fund. Their creation was TESSA, an accessible online Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment. The toolkit provides methods for assessing global climate regulation, flood protection, water provision, water quality improvement, harvested wild goods, cultivated goods and nature-based recreation. It is highly valuable not only for conservation practitioners but for natural resource managers, land-use planners, development organisations, and the private sector. Trials of TESSA were supported in the UK, Nepal and Montserrat.

“CCI’s TESSA reveals the hidden values of land; you can actually quantify and value ecosystem services in a rapid way in the field. It shows which ecosystem services may be important at a site, and the benefits people obtain from them compared with those from proposed alternative land – uses.”

Jennifer Merriman, Ecosystem Services Officer and TESSA Project Lead, BirdLife International nt supported workshops in Kenya, where project partners the Tropical Biology Association and BirdLife International trained sixteen African conservationists to use TESSA. They then applied the toolkit at countries, and met again a year later to report their results. By building capacity for conducting ecosystem service assessments, the project has enable practitioners to promote better policy decisions concerning land use at specific sites in their countries, and their feedback has enabled further development of TESSA.

TESSA can be found here: http://tessa.toolsĀ