Capturing nature’s benefits: Describing, quantifying, valuing

Published 17 November 2021

Event date/time: Tuesday, 23 November 2021, 15:00 – 16:00 GMT

We all depend on nature for what it provides for us; cleaning our water and our air; helping to protect us from flooding; and maintaining a comfortable climate and space to exercise and think. Yet we rarely value these services when deciding where and how to restore habitats, build infrastructure, provide services and in making day-to-day choices.

Now is the time to value nature, not so much for its innate value, as we all know that is priceless, rather its benefits, the services that nature gives us. In this way, we can also appreciate the potential services that we are currently losing out on precisely because we have not been valuing them – if we restore nature, it cleans our water (we pay less), it reduces flooding (we pay less), it cleans our air (we pay less), it regulates climate (we pay less), etc. The list goes on.

This talk will unpack how we have applied this approach to a landscape nature recovery scheme “Transforming the Trent Valley, Staffordshire” and to an investment case for a nature recovery project in Chester. It will begin with a general overview of the approach, drivers and why we need to value nature. The examples will demonstrate the use of novel digital technology and remote sensing and the initiative of local communities in driving forward change. Lastly, we will reflect on the benefits and pitfalls of the approach.

Capturing nature's benefits

Left to right: Fran Moore, Louise Morris and Edward Smith

Presenter: Fran Moore

Fran Moore is Binnies’ natural capital assessment specialist and has 15 years’ experience in valuing the benefits of nature to inform investment planning. Her works seeks to ensure that we account for all nature’s services that we benefit from, not just those to which we can easily attach a monetary value, as a means to help restore the living landscapes around us, which underpin our economic resilience and well-being. Fran works in a range of areas for both the public and private sectors, including water, flood risk, conservation, renewable energy and economic development. Her work embraces innovative digital technology, including remote sensing and interactive websites, as means to aid nature recovery. Her work also regularly helps to secure additional funding for nature recovery, increasingly innovative funding models linked to agro-ecological transition and catchment restoration.

Fran is part of the socio-ecological resilience research cluster at Hull University’s Centre for Systems Studies while studying for a PhD on regenerative farming practices. She is also a founding director of Chester Community Energy, which owns and operates renewable energy schemes in Cheshire.

Presenter: Louise Morris

Louise Morris works for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and is the Project Manager for Transforming the Trent Valley, a landscape-scale partnership scheme focussed on the middle reaches of the River Trent and its tributaries in Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The scheme’s main funder is The National Lottery Heritage Fund, but other funding is achieved through grants, donations, collaborations and local government funding.

Louise is responsible for overseeing the management of the scheme, which involves the delivery of a broad range of projects, including community engagement, sustainable access, natural heritage and cultural heritage projects. Her role relies on partnership working and she oversees a team of dedicated staff from across four different organisations and reports to a Board of 18 partner organisations from the voluntary sector, local authorities, government bodies and mineral operators. Her work seeks to reconnect people with the river landscape, restore and recreate important habitats, mitigate against the impacts of climate change and build resilience for people and for wildlife.

Presenter: Edward Smith

Edward Smith is a Graduate Environment Economist from Runcorn, Cheshire. He recently received a distinction level master’s degree from LSE, where he studied Environmental Economics and Climate Change. With a focus on the UK agricultural sector, specifically the efficiency of conservation methods that target soil biota, Edward is working hard to produce just and positive outcomes for both society and the environment.

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