Data

This is the ONES inventory of data that our members believe to be relevant to ecosystem services in Ontario.  Click on a specific item to access its full record, including any comments about it from ONES members.  If you uploaded a specific item, you will also be able to edit it. If something is missing, please click here to grow the ONES data inventory.

Each item in the data inventory below is categorized as one or more of:


Analytical and empirical tools

Ecosystem Services Toolkit: Completing and Using Ecosystem Service Assessment for Decision-Making - An Interdisciplinary Toolkit for Managers and Analysts

The Ecosystem Services Toolkit is a technical guide to ecosystem services assessment and analysis that offers practical, step-by-step guidance for governments at all levels, as well as for consultants and researchers. The approach is fully interdisciplinary, integrating biophysical sciences, social sciences, economics, and traditional and practitioner knowledge. It provides guidance on how to consider and incorporate ecosystem services analysis in a variety of different policy contexts such as spatial planning, environmental assessment, and wildlife management, among others. It contains numerous innovative tools and resources designed to enhance users’ understanding of ecosystem services and to support analysis and decision-making. Canadian examples are featured throughout the guide.

Suzuki Foundation's Natural Capital Map Application

The David Suzuki Foundation is working on a fantastic project Putting Natural Capital on the Map where users can highlight a parcel of land and an estimate of the economic benefits in that area will be generated. Currently, the application focuses on water ecosystems in the Lower Mainland in British Columbia.

Click here to access the map application.

Additional information from the Suzuki Foundation on natural capital can be found here

Inventories and databases

Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory (EVRI)

The Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory (EVRI) is a searchable archive of empirical studies on the economic value of environmental benefits and human health effects. It was designed as a tool to assist policy development using the benefits transfer approach to estimate these economic values. The information in the EVRI currently focuses on water valuation studies but the scope will be broadened to include studies for different types of natural capital.

The EVRI is only accessible to subscribers but non-subscribers can click on the link below to register or find out more about the EVRI and its functionality.

Environmental Valuation Reference Inventory

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada presents information on the quantity, quality and value of Canada’s ecosystems and ecosystem goods and services (EGS). The report presents preliminary results achieved through a two-year interdepartmental project to develop experimental ecosystem accounts and the required statistical infrastructure. It provides an overview of ecosystem accounting and valuation, several measures of the quantity and quality of ecosystems and their goods and services, a case study for valuing EGS, and a research agenda for future work in this area.

Ontario's Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt's Natural Capital 2016

This report provides an estimate of the final ecological services provided by the Greenbelt’s natural capital.

Primary research and analysis

Canadian Nature Survey

This document reports the results of a 2012 mail and web survey of Canadians about their awareness, participation, and expenditures in nature-based recreation, conservation, and subsistence activities. Most results are broken out by province, including Ontario which had a sample of 2011 address-based responses and 4,584 web responses for a combined sample of 5,595 people. Of note is data about respondents’ awareness of “ecosystem services” and whether they had been directly affected by the loss of an ecosystem service. Results provide insights into how Canadians obtain information about nature, and with information about perceptions, could be useful to help inform communications. (Available in English and French)

Ecosystems valuation analysis on off-site benefits from protected areas

In May 2013, Spatial Informatics Group submitted a report to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources which presented an ecosystems valuation analysis on the off-site benefits from protected areas’ ecosystem services in Ontario. Two approaches were used in this study. The value transfer approach was used to assess the North Shore area. Four ecosystem service models were developed using the ARIES (ARtificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services) approach to assess the Algonquin Provincial Park and Lake of the Woods region. Recognizing the socio-economic, biophysical and recreational aspects of different lands under park management, the findings from this report confirm that the models developed for this study could be transferred or adapted to similar contextual settings. It was concluded that the ecosystem services framework is a very valuable tool for assessing and measuring the contributions of parks and protected areas and for evaluating the potential impacts of alternative management scenarios.

Estimation of the Passive Use Values Associated with Future Expansion of Provincial Parks and Protected Areas in Southern Ontario

Results from this paper provide estimates of the social benefits associated with an expansion of the protected area network in the Mixedwood Plains of southern Ontario. In addition the social costs and benefits were estimated for a hypothetical expansion of the protected areas system in Ecodistrict 6E-12 (Kemptville), a region within the Mixedwood Plains. The costs were approximated with a hedonic model of land characteristics used to predict the
acquisition costs of future land purchases necessary to expand the protected area network in 6E-12. The benefit side in 6E-12 was represented by passive-use values measured by the public willingness to pay for expanding the protected area network.

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada presents information on the quantity, quality and value of Canada’s ecosystems and ecosystem goods and services (EGS). The report presents preliminary results achieved through a two-year interdepartmental project to develop experimental ecosystem accounts and the required statistical infrastructure. It provides an overview of ecosystem accounting and valuation, several measures of the quantity and quality of ecosystems and their goods and services, a case study for valuing EGS, and a research agenda for future work in this area.

Ontario Nature's Report on Biodiversity Offsetting: First-Year Results

With the support of Metcalf Foundation, Ontario Nature initiated a project on biodiversity offsetting in July 2013 to explore the issues, risks and benefits of biodiversity offsetting with a diverse group of stakeholders and its implications in a policy context. This report presents the first-year results of this project.

Ontario's Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt's Natural Capital 2016

This report provides an estimate of the final ecological services provided by the Greenbelt’s natural capital.

Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

Sections PS 1000, PS 1201: Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

A summary of a discussion by the Public Sector Accounting Group (of the Public Sector Accounting Board – PSB) on the barriers and opportunities of treating urban trees and forests as municipal assets. (starts on page 15)

The valuation of wetland conservation in an urban/peri urban watershed

This study estimates the social benefits of wetland conservation in the Credit River watershed, located in an urban/peri urban area in Southern Ontario, Canada. A stated preference approach was employed to value wetland conservation programs which ranged from retaining the existing wetlands to restoring various levels of acres of wetlands over the 2009–2020 period. A total of 1,407 households completed an internet-based survey which presented trade-offs in binary choice scenarios framed as referenda. Responses were analyzed using various models, one of which was a latent class analysis which segmented respondents into three classes. This econometric approach uncovered significant preference heterogeneity for wetland conservation. Assignment of respondents to the classes suggested that about one-third of the sample was willing to pay small amounts to retain the existing wetlands. An additional third was willing to pay several hundred dollars a year for retention and small positive amounts for additional restoration. The final third were apparently willing to pay considerable sums for retention, but lesser amounts for additional restoration. However, further analysis revealed that respondents in this third class largely constituted yea-sayers. These results suggest caution in interpreting associated economic valuation estimates and highlight the importance of attempting to understand hypothetical bias in wetland and other such valuation studies.

Valuing Wetland Services in Southern Ontario’s Credit River Watershed Using the Contingent Valuation Method

This study uses the contingent valuation method to estimate the value of retaining and restoring wetland services in the Credit River Watershed. A sample of the population was surveyed on their willingness to pay for hypothetical programs to restore wetlands. Respondents were asked about their knowledge of wetlands and their views on the costs of restoration. The authors also calculated willingness-to-pay estimates for the retention of the wetlands.

Willingness to pay for water quality and supply enhancements in the Grand River watershed

This paper reports the results of a large contingent valuation survey to estimate the social benefits of water quality improvements in the watershed. Early results indicate a willingness to pay (WTP) for residential water quality improvements of up to $4.50 per household per month (19% of the average water bill), with a somewhat lower value for preserving the environmental quality of parkland in the watershed. Using a 5% discount rate, this translates into a demand for water quality projects in the region with a capital value of nearly 91100 per household. The narrowness of the estimated range of WTP values, and their similarity to values found in other studies, suggests that our estimates are a reliable measure of the monetary value of social benefits from water quality improvements in the region. The main socio-economic determinants of willingness to pay appear to be household income, number of children, perception of existing water quality, and awareness of environmental issues on the part of survey respondents.

Value transfer research and analysis

A Business Case for Wetland Conservation in the The Black River Subwatershed

This report provides a strong business case for wetland retention and restoration of the Black River subwatershed of the Lake Simcoe basin through its research on the ecological values of riparian wetlands and the economic impacts from the loss of these wetlands. The authors use measurements of the water quality implications of wetland loss and restoration to estimate the economic values of these wetlands, demonstrating that wetland conservation is an economically feasible option for preventing further environmental degradation in the Black River subwatershed, Lake Simcoe and southern Ontario

Analysis for Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative: Lake Erie Cost of Algae Scoping Report

In Canada’s Economic Action Plan, the federal government will invest $16 million in the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative for a four-year period to address the recurrent toxic and algae issues in Ontario’s Great Lakes. For the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative, Environment Canada retained Midsummer Analytics to provide insight on the factors and methodologies for evaluating the impacts of algal blooms in the Lake Erie Basin and to study the impacts on the ecosystem goods and services delivered by Lake Erie.

Assessing the Economic Value of Protecting the Great Lakes: A Cost-benefit Analysis of Habitat Protection and Restoration

This study provides information on the magnitude of the economic benefits from the habitats of the Great Lakes basin ecosystem. A total economic valuation (TEV) framework is used to undertake a cost-benefit analysis of two intervention strategies – wetland protection and restoration – aimed at protecting and restoring habitats. The costs and benefits of these habitats and the intervention strategies are estimated for Credit River – 16 Mile Creek, the Toronto Area and Prince Edward Bay.

(Note: Click on “Assessing the Economic value of Protecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem” to be directed to the document)

Assessing the Economic Value of Protecting the Great Lakes: Invasive Species Prevention and Mitigation

This report analyzes the economic value of protecting the Great Lakes by preventing the establishment of aquatic invasive species that are a threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem. In order to understand the magnitude of the impacts of invasion relative to the costs of preventative measures, the report uses cases studies to examine the costs of invasion due to zebra mussels and the costs of prevention for Asian Carp. The study uses an analysis of economic welfare to evaluate the costs and benefits that accrue to stakeholders as a whole.

(Note: Click on “Assessing the Economic value of Protecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem” to be directed to the document)

Assessing the Economic Value of Protecting the Great Lakes: Rouge River Case Study for Nutrient Reduction and Nearshore Health Protection

This study undertakes an economic welfare analysis using a cost-benefit framework that assesses the total impacts to societal welfare. Using the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Rouge River Watershed: Scenario Modeling and Analysis Report, 2007 as a case study and a total economic value (TEV) framework as the valuation approach, the costs and benefits of two future land development scenarios – sustainable communities and full build-out – are analyzed. These results are extrapolated to the Golden Horseshoe area and then used to estimate the impacts of the two development scenarios on Lake Ontario.

(Note: Click on “Assessing the Economic value of Protecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem” to be directed to the document)

Assessment of ecosystem service values in the Township of King

The concept of ecosystem services is becoming commonplace amongs environmental professionals. The Township of King contains ecologically significant land such as the Happy forest, the Oak ridges moraine, and the Dufferin and Holland Marsh. No systematic attempt to assign economic value to the land within the Township of King has yet to be undertaken. This paper attempts to address this gap and highlight the importance of natural capital in the study area. This paper explores the concepts of natural capital valuation. Conventional economics does not consider the value of natural capital. This paper shows the dangers of overlooking this value and illustrates the benefits that can be experienced when taking the value of natural capital and ecosystem services into account. This paper was submitted to the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Environmental Studies.

Assessment of Potential Biodiversity Market Partnerships in Ontario

Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) is a non-profit organization based in Ontario that manages the rehabilitation of ecological services in communities across Canada and participates in the Canadian voluntary compensation market. Due to the challenges of adopting Payments for Ecological Service, AMOVEO, a student organization at the University of Waterloo, partnered with ALUS in 2012 to examine the industries that could be potential target markets for ALUS’ ecological services program. Recommendations were also made to assist in developing ALUS’ operations and to provide assistance when targeting potential investors.

Canada’s Wealth of Natural Capital: Rouge National Park

This report estimates the economic value of the ecosystem services provided by the existing Rouge Park, proposed Rouge National Park and its three major surrounding watersheds in the Greater Toronto Area. Using valuation techniques from the field of natural capital economics, the report provides estimates of the economic values of the area’s natural, agricultural and cultural assets.

Comprehensive wealth in Canada: Measuring what matters in the long run

This study reviewed Canada’s comprehensive wealth performance over the 33-year period from 1980 to 2013. This timeframe extends well beyond business and political cycles, ensuring that the results reveal trends free from the ebb and flow of markets and policies.

Comprehensive wealth focuses on the role of people, the environment and the economy in creating and sustaining well-being. Complementing indicators like gross domestic product (GDP) and addressing issues the can’t capture on their own, comprehensive wealth measures are key to successfully guiding Canada through the 21st century and beyond.

Comprehensive wealth measures human capital, natural capital, produced capital, and social capital.

The report’s focus on natural capital is on natural capital stocks, which supply ecosystem goods, and not also natural capital funds, which supply ecosystem services. The report draws attention to the drawdown of natural capital (stocks) which usually implies a drawdown in natural capital (funds).

The report says: “Due to a combination of physical depletion and changing market conditions, the value of Canada’s minerals, fossil fuels, timber and agricultural land per person declined by a startling 25 per cent between 1980 and 2013. More recent data signal an even greater decline due to the steep drop in global oil prices. A series of climate and ecosystem indicators compiled for the study point to declines in other forms of natural capital.”

Economic Value of Protecting the Great Lakes: Literature Review Report

This review of the literature on the economic value of the goods and services provided by the Great Lakes includes the direct, indirect, option and non-use values associated with Great Lakes protection. The report discusses the main stressors to the Great Lakes ecosystem, contextualizes the value estimates by reviewing cost benefit analyses, and summarizes economic valuation data.

(Note: Click on “Assessing the Economic value of Protecting the Great Lakes Ecosystem” to be directed to the document)

Ecosystem Services Provided by Forests in Canada: Case Studies on Natural Capital and Conservation

This report calculates the natural capital value of forests that are located on properties that are conserved by Nature Conservancy of Canada through the TD Forests program. The report includes two main parts:

1. The first part provides general background on Canada’s forests and approaches to natural capital valuation.

2. The second part presents case studies for each of Canada’s eight forest regions. Each study provides an introduction to the forest region and explores the natural capital value of at least one conserved forest property.

This assessment uses a “defensive expenditures” approach. Monetary valuation of the benefits used the value of the Social Cost of Carbon that is used by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Estimating Ecosystem Services in Southern Ontario

This study uses a spatially explicit ecosystem service valuation technique to estimate ecosystem service values and geographic variation in the values for southern Ontario. It also discusses the current challenges with research in ecosystem services valuation and how ecosystem services could support decision-making in policy and planning.

Flamborough-Burlington Natural Capital: Assessment of Ecosystem Service Values

This report demonstrates the importance of the natural capital and potential ecosystem service values within the MTO West Corridor Planning Area. It provides estimated values for the natural capital of this study area including recreation, aesthetics and amenities, water supply, pollination and seeding, habitat, and regulation of gas, soil, nutrients, and disturbances.

Lake Simcoe Basin’s Natural Capital: The Value of the Watershed’s Ecosystem Services

This study describes and quantifies the natural capital value of the ecosystem goods and services provided by Lake Simcoe’s watershed. Ecosystem values are measured for water quality, supply and regulation, clean air, carbon services, biodiversity, and recreation and tourism.

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada

Measuring ecosystem goods and services in Canada presents information on the quantity, quality and value of Canada’s ecosystems and ecosystem goods and services (EGS). The report presents preliminary results achieved through a two-year interdepartmental project to develop experimental ecosystem accounts and the required statistical infrastructure. It provides an overview of ecosystem accounting and valuation, several measures of the quantity and quality of ecosystems and their goods and services, a case study for valuing EGS, and a research agenda for future work in this area.

Measuring Unpriced Values: An Economic Perspective and Annotated Bibliography for Ontario

The report addresses how economists deal with society’s preference for unpriced values and describes several approaches to valuing unpriced goods and services. Included in the report is a discussion of economic theory for cost-benefit analyses with respect to unpriced values, identification of value categories and a summary of unpriced values studies that were undertaken in Ontario. The report also considers issues relevant to future unpriced valuation studies in forestry.

Natural Credit: Estimating the Value of Natural Capital in the Credit River Watershed

The value of the natural capital of the Credit River Watershed is assessed using a benefit transfer approach to estimate the flow of benefits from the ecological services provided by the watershed. The research also uses two case studies, urban development and reforestation and naturalization, to demonstrate how natural capital valuation can be used to inform decision-making.

Ontario's Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt's Natural Capital 2016

This report provides an estimate of the final ecological services provided by the Greenbelt’s natural capital.

Ontario's Wealth, Canada's Future: Appreciating the Value of the Greenbelt's Eco-services

This report profiles the importance of the natural capital and ecosystem services provided by the land cover of Ontario’s Greenbelt including wetlands, forests, agricultural lands, beach and sand dunes, and grasslands. Non-market values such as the ecological, recreational and cultural values of each land cover are described and quantified.

Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Project Area Ecosystem Services Valuation Assessment

The non-profit Pimachiowin Aki Corp. is working on establishing a World Heritage Site in an intact boreal forest on the Ontario-Manitoba border and commissioned a study to estimate the ecosystem services values provided by the forest. Through mapping of the land covers and valuation studies, the values were derived for resident and non-resident populations and organized into four categories: provision, regulation, cultural and support.

Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

Sections PS 1000, PS 1201: Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

A summary of a discussion by the Public Sector Accounting Group (of the Public Sector Accounting Board – PSB) on the barriers and opportunities of treating urban trees and forests as municipal assets. (starts on page 15)

Running Through our Fingers: How Canada fails to capture the full value of its top asset

The Blue Economy Initiative seeks to draw attention to the connection between water and the economy. Running Through our Fingers revisits economist Andrew Muller’s 1985 analyses and estimates for the value of water’s contribution to Canada’s economy. The report highlights the importance of water to the economy, the limited information available for determining water’s value with respect to economic activities and in its natural state, and provides suggestions to address the gaps in available information.

The economic value of natural capital assets associated with ecosystem protection (in Aurora)

The purpose of this report is to conduct an initial baseline estimate of the benefits provided to residents of Aurora from the existing stock of natural capital in the Town. From this baseline analysis, economic costs associated with changes to the features related to natural capital can be factored into future land use decisions and other Town initiatives.

The living city report card: An assessment of the Greater Toronto Area

The living city report card assesses the state of environmental measures such as carbon emissions, air and water quality, waste management, land use and biodiversity across the Greater Toronto Area. It features a special commentary on ecosystem services, specifically the importance of natural infrastructure in existing and proposed communities in providing benefits such as adding life to the city and softening the built form, as well as reduced health care costs.

Urban forests: the value of trees in the City of Toronto

This report by TD economics appraises the value of some of the ecosystem services provided by Toronto’s urban forest. Values are capitalized for the entire urban forest, and per-tree, and also reported as an annual flow for the entire urban forest and per tree and per household. The report concludes that “Urban forests do more than beautify the scenery. They represent an important investment in environmental condition, human health and the overall quality of life.” It compares the value of its services to the value of its management, to yield a conclusion that “every dollar spent on maintenance returns $1.35-$3.20 worth of benefits to residents of the City of Toronto.” (Available in English and in French)

Sustainability assessments

Great Lakes Conservation Blueprint for Aquatic and Terrestrial BIodiversity

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Nature Conservancy of Canada collaborated on the Conservation Blueprint for Biodiversity, a shared vision for natural heritage conservation in the Great Lakes region. The Conservation Blueprint assembles, catalogues, classifies, maps and analyzes the aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity in the Great Lakes region, and identifies high quality aquatic and terrestrial areas that can support a broad range of natural biodiversity. Summary reports of the tertiary watersheds and eco-districts include data and maps.

Province of Ontario: Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity Analysis

The Ecological Footprint is a tool that assesses the demand for natural resources and provides information on whether our collective consumption levels are approaching or exceeding the Earth’s ecological limits. It can be directly compared to biocapacity, a metric that accounts for available resource supply of specific products (food, fibre, timber and carbon storage) that are provided by ecosystems. The Ecological Footprint and biocapacity provide a partial ecological balance sheet for the world. This report calculates humanity’s and Canada’s Ecological Footprint, as well as the Ecological Footprint and biocapacity of Ontario.

Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

Sections PS 1000, PS 1201: Recognition Prohibitions and Urban Forests

A summary of a discussion by the Public Sector Accounting Group (of the Public Sector Accounting Board – PSB) on the barriers and opportunities of treating urban trees and forests as municipal assets. (starts on page 15)

The Footprint and Biocapacity of Ontario, Canada: Comparing Results for 2005 and 2010

This report summarizes an Ecological Footprint and biocapacity analysis of Canada and the province of Ontario, conducted by Global Footprint Network for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF). The results in this report are based on an analysis using the 2014 edition of the National Footprint Accounts (NFA). These results differ from those using NFA 2008. As such, for consistency of comparison, we compared the 2005 and 2010 figures using the NFA 2015 Edition. Refer to Annex B for description of applied changes and improvements between the 2008 and 2014 NFA editions for Canada.

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