Flanders Moss NNR, Loch Lomond NNR, Blawhorn Moss NNR
A report recently came out in England highlighting the social, economic and environmental benefit the National Nature Reserves offer to the country. An innovative new way of looking at the sites has estimated that they produce benefits totalling £36 million .
The research report here uses a Natural Capital Accounts method that assess and quantifies some of the benefits that these sites produce for the country. These include climate change reduction through carbon sequestration (£12 million) and providing free recreational visits for the public (5.5 million visits worth £22 million ).
It is an interesting way of looking at the nature reserves. Some might say that you can’t actually value wildlife and the habitats they live in and this system means that you maybe valuing sexy, dramatic wildlife against less glamorous wildlife and the dull ones come off less favourably. Other people would say that in the current world we live in it is important to show the real value of these special sites and with the majority of people not having daily working contact with the outside environmental, putting a monetary value on these places help people to understand what they actually deliver to society.
Interestingly, the value of bogs and wet places like the 2 bogs, a swamp and some islands that we manage, were often hard to sell to people but now they are considered hugely important and therefore worth millions in mitigating climate change and increasing numbers of people visit them.
Here in Scotland we have fewer NNRs. SNH manages 30 sites and an estimated 650, 000 people visit them but some of the sites are huge and under this system will be massively valuable.
The system helps people to consider the worth of nature when nature damaging schemes are put forward and are justified as being more important because they generate jobs and wealth.
So just another way of looking at your favourite nature reserve as you wander around it. And worth considering when schemes that damage nature are being considered.