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June 18, 2012 / landscapeiskingston

Waterways and lakes are a valuable source of ecosystem service provision

Society benefits from the resources and processes that are supplied by natural ecosystems. These benefits are known as ecosystem services and inland waterways are a large source of ecosystem services.    A review of ecosystem services derived from waterways was presented by Glenn Millar of British Waterways during the recent Waterways Forward partners’ meeting in The Hague.   The example of the Bridgewater & Taunton Canal in the UK is used in this presentation which reveals that a total contribution of €1,604k is made from a variety of sectors such as heritage, landscape & environment, recreation, property value enhancement, volunteering, water supply and land drainage.  The full presentation can be viewed by clicking the following link  An Ecosystems Services Approach

4 main areas of service provision:

  • Support: Services necessary for the production of other ecosystem services eg. Soil formation, photosynthesis, water cycling
  • Provision: Products obtained from ecosystems – food, fibre, fuel, water etc.
  • Regulation: Benefits obtained from the regulation of ecosystem processes – climate regulation, water regulation & purification etc.
  • Cultural: Non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems – recreation, heritage, landscape etc.

Waterways and lakes are a valuable source of ecosystem service provision and the financial contribution made by inland waterways has been investigated in depth in a report written on behalf of The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Inland Waterways Advisory Council in the UK; “The Benefits of Inland Waterways” , June 2009.  This report states that, “There are a wide range of benefits provided by inland waterways. These are realised through the creation of business opportunities and jobs, and recreation or education opportunities.  But the report also highlights some difficulties: how to quantify some benefits – for instance community benefits.   A second problem relates to there being no suitable monetary valuation data available – for example in the case of the ‘well-being’ benefits from volunteering.   The report identifies a key gap to be considered – the definition and quantification of the benefits provided by the drainage and water conveyance services provided by inland waterways.

Images includes banners from The Hague partners’ meeting promoting the illustrated good practices identified previously by WF partners created by Landscape Interface Studio to support communication and dissemination of the project’s outputs.

  To view all 17 illustrated ‘good practices’ online click here

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