Ecosystem Service Valuation for Wetland Restoration: What it is, How to do it and Best Practice Recommendations

Stelk, Marla J., and J. Christie

Publication Date:

Many of the intrinsic and implicit benefits of wetland functions for society are unaccounted for in the market system. Therefore, communicating restoration project benefits, and hence, generating political and financial support for wetland restoration can prove difficult. Ecosystem service valuation is a technique which can aid in the development of public and political support for wetland restoration projects by deriving monetary values as well as relative value indicators (quantitative and qualitative) for many non-marketed benefits produced by wetlands. If performed well, it can provide a more balanced perspective of the costs of wetland restoration against a more comprehensive consideration of the associated benefits. This paper provides a brief overview of the terms “natural capital” and “ecosystem service valuation”, a history of their use in wetland practice and policy, and an explanation of the valuation process, available methods and recommendations for best practices within the field of wetland restoration.

STAPER categories:
  • A4: Assess the costs/benefits of ecosystem restoration
  • A5: Assess institutional, policy, and legal frameworks & identify financial/technical resources
  • B1: Review, improve or establish legal, policy and financial frameworks for restoration
  • B8: Promote economic and financial incentives
  • D3: Share lessons learned from planning, financing, implementing and monitoring ecosystem restoration plans

Resource Type:
White Paper

Association of State Wetland Managers