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Benefits of Sites of Special Scientific Interest - WC0768

The study explores the range of valuable ecosystem services that our network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) provide us with. It also gives estimates for the monetary value of the benefits derived from protecting biodiversity, which significantly exceed the costs of delivering them. This illustrates the importance of valuing the benefits of nature’s services – an approach that the Government has committed to through the recently published Natural Environment White Paper.

The study showed that SSSIs deliver a range of ecosystem services, including:
• cultural services to people and the economy including tourism, education, sense of place and recreation; as well as clear conservation benefits.
• regulating services including water purification, regulation of climate, air quality, water and natural hazards by protecting and enhancing natural processes.
• provisioning services that they produce, including goods such as food, timber, genetic resources and fresh water
The project has the following objectives:
• To estimate all benefits to society of SSSIs, where possible quantified and monetised – this is likely to be subdivided into three categories: SSSIs which are also Ramsar or Natura 2000 sites; SSSIs which are also National Nature Reserves; and SSSIs which are not subject to other designations.
• To estimate the added value of SSSI notification to the wider biodiversity value of the sites.
• To ascertain whether there is added value in SSSIs also being afforded other designations (e.g. Ramsar sites or Natura 2000 sites or National Nature Reserves).
• To assess, both quantitatively and qualitatively, the contribution that SSSIs make to the delivery of ecosystem goods and services both on the site and within the context of the wider landscape.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Final Report   (1814k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 1 - Literature review   (1526k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 2 - Case studies   (2598k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 3 - Economic valuation of the benefits of SSSIs   (5112k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 4 - Summary of focus group discussions   (518k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 5 - Summary of stakeholder workshops   (571k)
• SUM - Summary Report : Summary report (Non-technical)   (172k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2011

Cost: £134,120
Contractor / Funded Organisations
GHK Consulting
Environmental Protection              
Habitat conservation              
Nature conservation              
Fields of Study
Wildlife Conservation