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Posts with label 'ESV'
The quote of Dr. John Ward, MERFI

An Interview with Dr. Alex Smajgl and Dr. John Ward of the Mekong Region Futures Institute

Rivers help to purify water. Mangroves protect against coastal erosion and storm surge. Forests sequester carbon from the atmosphere and provide a rich variety of edible and medicinal plants. These are just a few examples of the many types of “services” that ecosystems – whether in urban areas such as Bangkok or rural villages in the Lower Mekong Basin – provide to communities on a regular basis. Moreover, many ecosystems have spiritual and cultural significance for local populations. In both urban and rural Thailand, many trees can be found wrapped in colorful swaths of cloth. These are believed to be spirit trees that should not be cut down.

School children of Kok Klang community were engaged in the community reforestation as a climate resilience strategy. (Photo by Del McCluskey/DAI)

National Park Officials, monks, community leaders and school children were among the 200 members of Kok Klang Village, in northeastern Thailand’s Sakon Nakhon Province, who gathered together in a community reforestation effort on August 28th, 2015. In total, the group planted about 5,000 trees in the 16-hectare Non Sao Ae community forest, as part of a larger community adaptation effort supported by the USAID Mekong Adaptation and Resilience to Climate Change (USAID Mekong ARCC) project and its partner, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Non Sao Ae and other forests provide nearby communities with many valuable products and services, and therefore require careful management in the face of anticipated climate change impacts.

INFOGRAPHIC: USAID Mekong ARCC's Ecosystems Service Valuation Country Case Studies

If a tree falls in the forest but no one hears it, did the tree really fall?

You’ve likely heard this well-pondered riddle already so how about this one:

If an entire forest is cleared to build a new highway, but no one knows the existing value of the forest to local communities, does losing the forest really cost local communities anything?

While the concept of “natural capital” is widely recognized, capturing its value can be challenging. How do you compare the loss of the forest and its myriad, though perhaps undocumented, benefits against the cold hard calculations of the economic returns from a new highway? One answer is through ecosystem service valuation, or ESV for short.

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