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Indicators of natural capital provision

Targeting Actions using a Robust Geo-spatial Evidence Toolbox (TARGETs)

For the Local Action Project we have developed a simple, but consistent, framework for the assessment of natural capital- and ecosystem services-derived benefits in urban landscapes.

Inspired by the ‘Wheels of Water’ form New Zealand (MORE INFO), the method uses a series of 12 ecosystem-benefit-indicators, which can be variously used to: 1) characterise the benefits derived from existing natural capital; 2) establish a baseline of benefits experienced by people living in specific communities (facilitating a strategic assessment of need for enhancement or deficiency of provision), and 3) to predict the magnitude and diversity of benefits generated through the delivery of a targeted urban environmental management intervention programme.

In order to develop a method that can identify the opportunities to enhance ecosystem services in urban areas a series of indicators covering the economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits provided by natural capital and green infrastructure were developed. All of the metrics are presented in a wheel enabling easy comparison between the differing metrics and between different areas.

These indicators are based on freely available data and information so that they can be generated for any location within the UK, but it should also be stressed that, while these metrics have been developed by the Local Action Project so far, work should always be done with input from local groups so that the final metrics reflect the priorities and values of the local community.

Presenting information in this way can help to identify areas that could benefit the most from increased or improved environmental infrastructure and also what types of interventions are appropriate to meet those needs. High resolution hydrological and suitability analyses, along with the identification of areas of opportunity, such as potential development sites can then be used to identify candidate sites for specific interventions.