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Socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic Countries

Synthesis in the context of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

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Nature provides a range of benefits (ecosystem services) that underpin human and socio-economic well-being. Many of these benefits – and the associated economic values – are not acknowledged in decision-making. As a result, nature remains almost invisible in the political and individual choices made. This report presents a synthesis of the socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic countries. The study was initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) and the NCM Finnish Presidency in 2011, following in the footsteps of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative. The study reveals that Nordic ecosystems play an integral role in supporting socio-economic wellbeing. However, a number of gaps in the existing information base still need to be addressed to ensure that these benefits are fully integrated into the Nordic decision-making processes.

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Socio-economic value of Nordic ecosystem services

Assessing the socio-economic importance and value of ecosystem services (i.e. the anthropogenic “demand” for ecosystem services) is based on identifying indicators that reflect the benefits of these services to human wellbeing (e.g. direct and indirect benefits, public and private benefits). In general, these benefits can be measured by using qualitative, quantitative or monetary information (See Chapter 5).

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