Valuing ecosystem services in agriculture – a way towards efficient decision making (VESA)

Ecosystems provide various supporting and regulating services that are essential for crop production. An increase in these ecosystem services boosts agricultural productivity and has positive effects for society at large. Examples of important ecosystem services include: carbon storage, soil fertility, nitrogen retention, and pollination.

Although farmers' soil management decisions affect future flows of ecosystem services, full consideration of their value is not generally taken because the relationship between ecosystem services and production are not clear to the farmer. There is also no incentive for farmers to take into account the positive effects of increased ecosystem services to society at large. For farmers' to better consider the value of ecosystem services in their decision making it is necessary that: a) the benefits of ecosystem services in the form of increased productivity can be quantified and hence made visible at the farm level and b) efficient policy instruments are implemented to reflect the broader social benefits that they provide.

The project aims to show how knowledge of the value of ecosystem services and natural capital can be included in decision-making in agriculture to increase agricultural productivity and social welfare in Sweden.

The projects cooperating partners are AgriFood, Centre for Environmental and Climate Research and Hushållningssällskapet Malmöhus. It is financed by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (The Value of Ecosystem Services) and is finalized in spring 2018.

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