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The Real Wealth of the Mackenzie Region: Assessing the Natural Capital Values of a Northern Boreal...

Key Message

The non-market value of the watershed, assessed as the potential value of 17 ecosystem services produced by the region, is estimated at $570.6 billion per year, an average of $3,426 per hectare - about 14 times the market value.

Source

Anielski, Mark and Wilson, Sara. (2010). The Real Wealth of the Mackenzie Region: Assessing the Natural Capital Values of a Northern Boreal Ecosystem. Ottawa, Ontario: Canadian Boreal Institute.

Purpose

The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) has commissioned this study to help decision makers — federal, territorial, provincial and First Nations governments — make informed stewardship decisions that balance broader ecosystem and cultural values with sustainable economic growth. The study’s primary goal was to construct a natural capital account for the Mackenzie watershed, including a total economic valuation of the market and non-market benefits
of the watershed’s natural capital.

The study shows the importance and real socio-cultural-economic value of conserving natural capital, and balancing sustainable development with protecting intact ecosystems for future regional and national benefits. (p 2)

Evidence

The market value of the Mackenzie watershed, assessed as the region’s GDP, is estimated at $41.9 billion per year, an average of $245 per hectare.

• The non-market value of the watershed, assessed as the potential value of 17 ecosystem services produced by the region, is estimated at $570.6 billion per year, an average of $3,426 per hectare.
• The ecological goods and services provided by nature (e.g., carbon storage, water filtration, water supply) in the Mackenzie contribute over 13.5 times more societal economic value than the GDP generated by natural capital extraction industries. This evaluation is not intended to undervalue the resource potential, but rather to temper its value in a broader sustainability context.
• The industrial footprint in the region covers 25.6 million hectares and the estimated cost of natural capital degradation from development is likely to be in the billions of dollars. This does not suggest that natural capital extraction should cease, but rather that there be a more prudent approach to future natural capital stewardship, so that valuable ecosystem services can be main- tained while meeting human needs and economic development objectives.
• The carbon stored by forests, peatlands, wetlands and tundra are valued at an estimated $339 billion in 2005, or 60 percent of the total estimated non-market value of ecosystem services.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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