Ecosystem services

Natural Capital can be defined as the stock of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. These natural assets, provide the life support systems (ecosystem services) upon which we all depend.

NIEL Recommendations

  • Land use and strategic decision making that recognises and seeks to enhance the condition and ‘value’ of our natural assets
  • Investment to protect and restore our natural capital to enhance the benefits to society
  • Partnerships to enable the delivery of a number of natural capital pilots to showcase the ‘value’ of natural assets in Northern Ireland
  • A fully integrated cross–departmental and inter–sectoral approach is needed to align policy and ensure  that natural capital is reflected in decision making
  • Greater understanding of natural capital is required at public and political levels
  • Further research on the value of ecosystem services in the UK, in particular the Northern Ireland context, to establish financial values for service delivery, is required
  • Effective ecosystem management at appropriate spatial scales –the island of Ireland, as a bio–geographical unit, should be considered as a whole for ecosystem management
  • Carbon management should be seen as an important part of management for multiple service delivery
  • Establish a natural capital Index as a baseline from which to measure gains and losses in natural capital over time
  • A network of ecologically coherent sites should form a core for integrated management within the wider environment, delivering ecosystem services and minimising environmental degradation
  • Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) should be seen as a key way forward in encouraging land management for the delivery of ecosystem services

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