In July 2013 a Conservation International / WAVES PTEC team visited Peru for a Scoping Mission for the Ecosystem Values Assessment & Accounting Project (EVA), which is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and supported by PTEC as one of its three pilot projects for testing of methodologies for ecosystem accounts.
EVA is being implemented with the ultimate goal of incorporating nature’s value into decision-making and informing more sustainable policies and practices. One of its main goals is to pilot the development of Ecosystem Accounts -- the measurements of flows of ecosystem benefits into the economy, which requires analysis, mapping and monetary valuation of ecosystem services in a way that is consistent with national accounting.
The scoping mission discussed several potential test sites for the development of Ecosystem Accounts, and the government suggested that the project focus on the Department of San Martin. A number of specific techniques for the biophysical analysis and mapping of key ecosystem services applicable to San Martin were also identified in the mission.
The Department of San Martin has been subject to rapid land use change in the last decades, and has begun a program to foster sustainable growth through green development policies and projects. The government expressed interest in the development of Ecosystem Accounts particularly as means to support the region’s land use planning and the identification of opportunities for target conservation efforts that are consistent with ecosystem services provision.
Ecosystems accounts are in its early stages and rather experimental -- requiring identification and testing of methodologies for the measurements of flows of ecosystem benefits. They are however a critical step towards a more comprehensive integration of the environment into the economy. In the case of San Martin, we expect ecosystem accounting to provide a tool to assess value and monitor the development over time and its use and protection of the region’s rich natural resource base.