Flamborough-Burlington Natural Capital Assessment of Ecosystem Service Values in the MTO West...
Natural capital and the associated flow of ecosystem services are particularly valuable as a result of high quality natural features in close proximity to large urban populations who derive significant value from those natural features.
Green Metrics Limited. (2011). Flamborough-Burlington Natural Capital Assessment of Ecosystem Service Values in the MTO West Corridor Planning Area. Burlington, Ontario: Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition.
Green Metrics was commissioned by the Stop Escarpment Highway Coalition to examine the ecosystem services provided by the area’s natural capital within the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario West Corridor Planning Area.
This report is intended to contribute to a more accurate benefit-cost analysis when evaluating corridor alternatives. It insists that such decisions need to consider their implications on elements of natural capital and the resulting flow of ecosystem services. Elements that are integral to the well-being of people that live within the planning area and those who live throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe region are at stake.
Drawing on the research that has already been completed in Southern Ontario the objectives of this report are as follows:
• Demonstrate the importance of natural capital and potential ecosystem service values in the MTO West Corridor Planning Area (WCPA).
• Highlight the need to carefully examine changes to natural capital and ecosystem services values when making land-use decisions.
The study area for the report encompasses a wide swath of more than 85,000 hectares predominantly across Burlington and Flamborough.
The natural capital was calculated based on an assessment of ecosystem service values conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for the southern Ontario landscape.
The natural capital was estimated to provide a flow of nearly $912 million per year in ecosystem service benefits, with disturbance regulation, aesthetic/amenity, recreation, and water supply services providing the bulk of the value:
disturbance regulation, $314 million;
water supply, $160 million;
aesthetic/amenity, $151 million;
recreation, $110 million;
habitat refuge, $73 million;
nutrient regulation $49 million;
other cultural, $31 million;
gas regulation, $17 million;
pollination/seeding, $7 million and
soil regulation, $28,000.
Combined, recreation and amenity values account for nearly 30% of the total value.
These values highlight the significant benefits that natural capital can provide particularly when natural features and functioning occur in such close proximity to urban populations, as is the case with Flamborough-Burlington area.