Agricultural ecosystems or agro-ecosystems are a supplier of ecosystem services which represent the flow of services from our natural capital (MEA, 2005). Some of these services add greatly to society well-being but sometimes disservices are also generated. Many of these are non-market ecosystem services and disservices which are not valued by the market. The purpose of this project is to create an inventory of the ecosystem services provided by farmers in agricultural catchments and place economic values on these services. Cost-effective public policy, in the form of agri-environmental schemes that provide incentives for farmers to provide ecosystem services from agriculture, require estimates of how society can maximize returns on such investments. Both market and non-market valuation methods can provide estimates of the costs to farmers of supplying these ecosystem services as well as the amount that consumers would be willing to pay to receive them. Research is required both to design cost-effective incentives to provide ecosystem services in agricultural catchments and to measure which kinds of ecosystem services could provide the greatest overall welfare benefits to society. Objectives of the project are:
- Identify the most significant agro-ecosystem services relevant in Irish agricultural catchments
- Identify suitable indicators to quantity the most significant agro-ecosystem services across Irish agricultural catchments
- Use appropriate valuation techniques to estimate the value of these agro-ecosystem services
- Demonstrate an assessment and valuation of agro-ecosystem services for a case study Irish agricultural catchment.
Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine