A new paper compares potential and realized ecosystem services in Southern Ontario

Monday, July 8, 2019

In a new paper published in the journal Environmental Science and Policy, authors Tariq Aziz and Water Institute member Philippe Van Cappellen compare the spatial distribution and use intensity across Southern Ontario of a bundle of six ecosystem services: water provisioning and supply, water quality, carbon sequestration, carbon storage, flood regulation, and nature-based tourism. Their analysis yields a total potential value of the bundled ecosystem services of $19 billion per year. The value of the corresponding realized ecosystem services is $9.7 billion per year, or about half the potential value. The importance of accounting for the use intensity of ecosystem services is illustrated for the Greenbelt, a protected area of about 7600 square kilometers surrounding the Greater Toronto-Hamilton conurbation, which is home to more than nine million people. Within the Greenbelt, 61% of the value of potential ecosystem services is realized, significantly higher than the regional average. Of particular importance is flood regulation by the Greenbelt, given the rise of urban flooding in the Toronto area.

Read the full article in Environmental Science and Policy.

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