This project focuses on how Payments for Ecosystem Services can be applied in upland areas. It aims to provide a practical, market based application of the ecosystems approach introduced in the Government’s recent Natural Environment White Paper, and addresses the need to quantify and value specific ecosystem services. It builds on the evidence base generated through Natural England’s Ecosystem Service Pilots to analyze the current baseline and trend in ecosystem service provision, the potential beneficiaries of these ecosystem services, metrics for measuring and modeling them and the overall feasibility of setting up a place-based PES scheme delivering either a layered or bundled PES scheme.
Given the importance of carbon storage and sequestration in the uplands, this will be a particular focus of this work. Through being market-oriented, this project will identify, quantify and value the saleable carbon from a specific area of peatland.
The project builds on the work on Defra and Natural England pilots and other landscape scale projects to develop a methodology for identifying, quantifying and valuing packages of ecosystem services. The ecosystem services which will be included in the current piece of work are likely to include carbon sequestration, water quality, freshwater, flood risk reduction, biodiversity and recreation. Given the importance of carbon storage and sequestration of peatlands this project explores the development of metrics to underpin a voluntary peatland carbon code, building upon the evidence and science work in the UK undertaken by the IUCN Peatland Programme and the Crichton Carbon Centre. It considers how marketing carbon can be combined with other possible marketable services.
This proposal differs from more academic approaches partly in its focus on the development of a practical method but also through it being both market-led and commercially viable. The research focuses on what is saleable, and how to measure it.