Report uses latest methodology to evaluate the value of ecosystem services provided by Ontario's Greenbelt to residents in the Greater Golden HorseshoeTORONTO, Nov. 16, 2016 /CNW/ - A new report, Ontario's Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt's Natural Capital from Green Analytics and Sustainable Prosperity found that in addition to storing over $11.17B of carbon, the Greenbelt provides $3.2B annually in ecosystem services to the region. The report, commissioned by the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, assessed the value of final services provided by the Greenbelt that Ontario residents benefit from. The report uses the National Ecosystem Services Classification methodology to identify a series of ecosystem service accounts that directly benefit residents, for example bird watching, flood protection, or clean air to breathe. Key findings include:
Recreational activities valued at $2.1B per year
$224M per year in flood protection for private property
$52M per year in carbon sequestration
The report applies the latest assessment tools in natural capital valuation, providing a case study and template for municipalities to establish accounts to assess natural capital contributions to inform decision-making. "This report reaffirms what many Ontarians already know - the Greenbelt provides tremendous services to residents with recreational opportunities, clean air and water, and climate resiliency," said Burkhard Mausbarg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. "Nine in ten Ontarians support the Greenbelt as a lasting environmental legacy for Ontario, because they recognize the value we all receive from this protected landscape." "When the Government of Ontario established the Greenbelt in 2005, we knew we were acting to protect prime agricultural land and natural heritage features across the region. This report demonstrates that not only is the Greenbelt accomplishing those goals, it is providing Ontarians with a wealth of tourism and recreation opportunites to benefit from and enjoy," said Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Eleanor McMahon. Understanding the value and benefits of ecosystem services is important for land use planning and decision-making. This report demonstrates that the Greenbelt is providing significant value to residents and is a vital asset to continue to protect and preserve. If the #GrowOurGB campaign to add vital water resources to the Greenbelt is a success, the value will only continue to grow.