In the past decade, the importance of economic analysis of ecosystem services of protected areas has caught the attention of researchers, policy- and decision-makers. Various initiatives kept the economic values of ecosystem services at global level in the focus of debate. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) have provided adequate rationale for economic approach to management of ecosystems.
However little has yet been done to evaluate ecosystem services of wilderness areas, where the direct use values by principle are very limited or sometimes close to zero.
There has though a report recently published that the roughly 8 billion visitation to protected areas globally generate 600 billion USD locally. Unfortunately as little as 10 billion USD is directly reinvested in the preservation of the protected areas.
Therefore our team has decided to focus a little more attention on non-use and non-extractive values of protected areas. We will carry out the following activities:
- The European Wilderness Society will be contributing to the Carpathian Convention’s Sustainable Tourism working group in order to further develop and implement the regional strategy in the Carpathians
- We will be working with NGOs and potential donors to improve regional development opportunities linked to protected areas. This work will include training and capacity building courses
- Our team is going to develop a so-called wild watershed programme, as part of our Pan European Green Corridor network initiative. The wild watershed will look for demonstration areas while upstream conservation measure lead to flood risks in downstream settlements.
Our focus on ecosystem services pays special attention to reduce negative impact of climate change and look at the mitigation capacities of wilderness areas. Our work will of course include a strong public awareness element in order to improve the knowledge about the importance of non-ectractive use values of protected wilderness areas across the continent.