By: Tom Bowers, Research Manager
On March 29, the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation hosted a workshop in partnership with the Natural Capital Lab and Ontario Network for Ecosystem Services. Held at Country Heritage Park in Milton, the goals for the workshop were twofold.
Firstly, we communicated the breadth and importance of services valued at $3.2 billion, which flow from Ontario's Greenbelt—two million acres of permanently protected land—to nearly 10 million residents living in and around the Greenbelt.
We drew from the recent report, "Ontario’s Good Fortune: Appreciating the Greenbelt’s Natural Capital," with key findings including $224 million per year in flood protection for private property, and $52M per year in carbon sequestration.
Secondly, we presented natural accounting as a tool to inform decision-making and improve environmental outcomes in a range of contexts.
The workshop brought together over 40 stakeholders representing many different organizations, including municipalities, conservation authorities, community and environmental groups—all of whom are actively interested in learning more about how to apply natural capital valuations in their work.
We heard presentations on the valuation framework and results from "Ontario's Good Fortune"; lessons from Peel and Oakville pilot projects in the Municipal Natural Assets Initiative; an update on the development of provincial accounts; and a tactical analysis of how best to use natural capital accounting. In the afternoon, John Purkis from the Natural Capital Lab led an ‘Open Space group discussion’ that provided participants an opportunity to frame and discuss particular issues they face in applying natural capital.
The workshop confirmed there is strong demand for natural capital valuations, and a desire to use them in different ways. We were excited to learn more about the tools and resources organizations need to make valuation happen, and we received excellent feedback from participants on this year's workshop. We look forward to continuing our work in this important area!
Click here to view and download six presentations from the workshop!