Decisions are generally conceived of as choices and trade-offs between competing alternatives across environmental, social and economic priorities. Such choices often require some form of valuation to reveal the relative weights given to aspects of a decision. One of the main aims of valuing ecosystem services is to make the overlooked and ‘hidden’ values of nature explicit.
Many valuation tools are still under development. Divergent applications and hybrid forms such as ‘social multi-criteria evaluation’ or ‘deliberative mapping’ are evolving. This makes the selection of valuation tools both complex and a crucial element of any decision-making process. To ensure that the application of valuation tools provides robust and reliable outcomes it should be mandatory that tools are not just applied by experts, but also well written up and reported, including a critical and transparent interpretation covering limitations and caveats.
Specific guidance has been developed to incorporate the Ecosystem Approach within the following Valuation tools:
- Artificial Intelligence for Ecosystem Services (ARIES)
- Common Law
- Corporate Ecosystem Valuation
- Cost-Benefit Analysis
- Deliberative Monetary Valuation
- Ecosystem Assessment
- Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Trade-offs (InVEST)
- Local Economic Development and Environment (LEDE)
- Multiscale Integrated Earth Systems model (MIMES)
- Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
- National Character Areas
- Natural Capital Asset Check