Is a non-monetary valuation of ecosystem services possible?

Colleagues from the Colombian ASSETS team were working hard to develop a method for the non-monetary valuation of ecosystem services.

Theis study explored combining data on the use of ecosystem resources with measuring the effort expended on agricultural activities in three communities of the lower Caqueta in the Colombian Amazon region. By measuring the energy expended by people during their principal subsistence activities, a measure of well-being was also indirectly obtained. For the three communities, the most costly ecosystem service in terms of energy expended was land in forests, which is prepared for planting with felling and clearing, with a value of 1,353 kcal per workday. This was followed by bush meat from hunting at 811 kcal per workday, fish at 682 kcal, obtaining food from the chagra (small family farming plot) at 470 kcal, collecting fruits at 380 kcal, collect- ing firewood at 148 kcal, and fetching water at 29 kcal. The preparation of casabe (cassava flatbread) as a cultural service has an energy cost of 386 kcal, while preparing mambe (toasted pulverized coca leaves) has a much higher cost at 808 kcal.

For more details about the methodology, the data collection and analysing please have a look at the recently published paper:

A methodological approach for the non-monetary valuation of ecosystem services in three communities of the Colombian Amazon
Zulma Duran H. ; Heliodoro Arguello A. ; Jeimar Tapasco ;
Agronomía Colombiana 2016, 34 (1)

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