Social and Economic Benefits of Protected Areas: An Assessment Guide, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Social and Economic Benefits of Protected Areas

An Assessment Guide, 1st Edition

Edited by Marianne Kettunen, Patrick ten Brink


368 pages | 58 B/W Illus.

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Protected areas (PAs) contain biodiversity and ecosystems of high conservation value. In addition, these areas provide a range of benefits, both direct and indirect, to our societies and economies, i.e. so called ecosystem services. These services include, for example, an ecosystem's ability to regulate floods and climate, purify water, secure the pollination of crops, and create opportunities for recreation, culture and tourism.

This book offers a comprehensive introduction to the socio-economic benefits of PAs and PA networks and provides step-by-step practical guidance on identifying, assessing and valuing the various ecosystem services and related benefits provided by PAs. It also aims to improve the communication of PA benefits to different stakeholders and the general public. It is shown that identifying and valuing the socio-economic benefits of PAs can be beneficial for several reasons. Demonstrating socio-economic importance of a protected site can significantly increase political and stakeholder support for the site and resolve conflicts between different interest groups. This can lead to positive changes in policies and decision-making. Insights on PA benefits are also needed to identify a combination of actions and land use practices that best support the sustainable and equitable utilisation of these benefits, while retaining a site’s conservation goals. Finally, demonstrating different benefits can help to discover alternative and sustainable sources for financing the management of PAs.


"This book is [therefore] extremely welcome, coming at the moment when interest in assessment is higher than at any time before. The team of authors, led by Marianne Kettunen and Patrick ten Brink from the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), has assembled an impressive global evidence base and practical advice, drawing on years of experience. We urge everyone involved in protected areas conservation to benefit from its guidance and help to promote protected areas as natural solutions to many of the world’s sustainability challenges."From the Foreword by Braulio F. de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Ernesto Enkerlin-Hoeflich, Chair of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

"This book presents a timely and practical guide to assessing and communicating the multiple values of protected areas, whether inland or coastal wetlands, drylands, grasslands, forests or marine areas in the open oceans. Essential reading for all wishing to ensure that nature is more fully taken into account in decision making, including all those responsible for managing and maintaining the health of the over 2000 Ramsar Sites worldwide."Professor Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General, Ramsar Convention Secretariat

"This guidebook is incredibly comprehensive and useful for all practitioners attempting to present socio-economic values of PAs. It will undoubtedly lead to a whole host of new and strong PA valuation studies important for advancing the conservation agenda." – Andrew Bovarnick, Lead Natural Resource Economist, UNDP

"The Guide provides a very welcome contribution to filling the gap that currently exists in the availability of practical tools and approaches for documenting, analysing and communicating the social and economic benefits of Protected Areas. Economists, conservation planners and policy-makers will all gain from the insights and techniques that are presented. The book is a core resource which will undoubtedly prove useful in strengthening protected area planning and management." Lucy Emerton, Director of Economics & Finance, Environment Management Group

"A timely, practical and inspiring guidebook that helps us to value the multiple benefits of protected areas and to communicate them better to local people and decision-makers. A must-read for all protected area managers!"Sanna-Kaisa Juvonen, Senior Advisor for International Affairs, Metsähallitus Natural Heritage Services, Finland

"This book is an excellent, practice-oriented overview of current methodological approaches and challenges to assess the ecosystem services provided by protected areas. It gives clear indication and guidance how to better understand the potentials and shortcomings of assessing and valuing nature and how these values can be taken up by and communicated to the decision making processes." Alberto Arroyo Schnell, Senior Policy Advisor on Biodiversity, Andreas Baumüller, Head of Natural Resources and Land Use and Peter Torkler, EU Policy, WWF

"Not all commons are protected areas, but the management of commons also benefit from a better understanding of their socio-economic values. This book will help decision makers in selecting the most appropriate policies and practices of land use."

--International Journal of the Commons, Vol 8, No 1 (2014)

"This book has synthesized some key aspects of socio-economic benefit assessments of protected areas. Eight contributors including two co-editors have discussed details on this subject, widely deliberated across various biodiversity conventions during the last two decades."

--Journal for Nature Conservation, 25 December 2013

"The primary target audience for this guide is those involved in the designation and management of protected areas who wish to explore the socio-economic arguments for conservation. It is effectively both a synthesis of evidence from a wide range of contexts of the benefits of protected areas, as well as a step-by-step practical guide on how to identify, assess and communicate those benefits, focusing on socio-economic values." – Helen Schneider, Fauna & Flora International, Cambridge, UK

Table of Contents


Braulio F. de Souza Dias and Ernesto Enkerlin-Hoeflich


1. Introduction, Objectives and Approach

Marianne Kettunen and Patrick ten Brink

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Objectives, scope and audience

1.3 Guiding principles

1.4 Approach, data, structure and application

Part 1: Contextual Guidance

2. Protected Areas: Their Values and Benefits

Nigel Dudley, Sue Stolton and Marianne Kettunen

2.1 Different benefits and values of protected areas

2.2 Basis of benefits: structure, functioning and processes in protected areas

2.3 Ecosystem services and related goods provided and supported by protected areas

2.4 Broader benefits

2.5 Putting the benefits into perspective

2.6 Opportunities and risks of assessing benefits

3. General Principles for Estimating the Socio-economic Value of Benefits Provided by Protected Areas

Marianne Kettunen, Patrick ten Brink and Samuela Bassi

3.2 Estimating the socio-economic value of benefits

3.3 Estimating the costs of protected areas

3.5 Estimating the total (net) benefits of a protected area

3.4 Estimating the added value of protected area designation

3.6 Estimating benefits from multiple sites

Part 2: Practical Guidance

Step I. A Scoping Assessment of Possible Benefits

4. Scoping Assessment of Benefits Provided by Protected Areas

Marianne Kettunen and Patrick ten Brink

4.1 How to carry out a scoping assessment?

4.2 Identification and rapid assessment of benefits

4.3 Joint consideration of different benefits

4.4 Considerations of benefits the context of multiple protected areas

4.5 Identification of net benefits

Annex 1. Scoping Assessments of Benefits Provided by Protected Areas – an Example of Application

Dalia D’Amato, Marianne Kettunen, Azucena de la Cruz, José Benedicto Royuela ‎and Artur Gil

5. Deciding which Benefits to Analyse in More Detail

Marianne Kettunen and Patrick ten Brink

5.1 Identifying the most important benefits

5.2 Identifying the purpose of socio-economic valuation

5.3 Possible resources to support detailed socio-economic assessment

Step II. Detailed Methodological Guidance to Estimating Benefits

6. Provisioning Services and Related Goods

Marianne Kettunen and Dalia D’Amato

6.1 Overview of benefits

6.2 Socio-economic importance of benefits

6.3 Estimating the value of benefits

Annex 2. Step by Step Guidance: Valuation of Biodiversity Resources

Marianne Kettunen and Dalia D’Amato

7. Regulating Services and Related Goods

Tomas Badura and Marianne Kettunen

7.1 Overview of benefits

7.2 Socio-economic importance of benefits

7.3 Role of different stakeholders in maintaining and using benefits

7.4 Estimating the value of benefits

Annex 3. Step by Step Guidance: Water Related Ecosystem Services

Tomas Badura and Marianne Kettunen

Annex 4. Step by Step Guidance: Climate Change Mitigation (Carbon Storage and Sequestration)

Samuela Bassi and Patrick ten Brink

8. Cultural Services and Related Goods

Sonja Gantioler and Dalia D’Amato

8.1 Overview of benefits

8.2 Socio-economic importance of benefits

8.3 Estimating the value of benefits

Annex 5. Step by Step Guidance: Tourism, Recreation and Other Cultural Benefits

Sonja Gantioler and Dalia D’Amato

9. Appreciating the Value of Supporting Service

Dalia D’Amato and Marianne Kettunen

9.1 Overview of benefits

9.2 Socio-economic importance of benefits

9.3 Estimating the value of benefits

10. Wider Socio-economic Benefits

Sonja Gantioler and Patrick ten Brink

10.1 Overview of benefits

10.2 Socio-economic importance of benefits

10.3 Estimating the value of benefits

11. Costs Related to Protected Areas

Samuela Bassi and Dalia D’Amato

11.1 Costs of management

11.2 Opportunity costs

11.3 Other costs

11.4 Total costs of protected areas

12. Assessing Net Benefits: Site Level

Patrick ten Brink and Marianne Kettunen

12.1 Assessing aggregated benefits

12.2 Comparing benefits with costs

12.3 Considering the added value of PA designation and management

Annex 6. Calculating Net Present Values (NPVs) and the Effect of Different Discount Rates

Patrick ten Brink

13. Assessing Net Benefits: Multiple Sites

Patrick ten Brink and Marianne Kettunen

13.1 Issues to reflect when aggregating values for multiple sites

13.2 Assessing aggregated benefits of multiple sites by scaling up

13.3 Estimating the future benefits of multiple sites

13.4 Comparing costs and benefits at an aggregate scale

Step III: Interpreting, Using and Communicating The Estimates

14. Interpreting the Results of Socio-economic Assessments

Patrick ten Brink and Marianne Kettunen

14.1 General meaning of the results

14.2 ‘Reading’ socio-economic assessments

14.3 Robustness of estimates

14.4 Level of confidence

14.5 Wider reflection on the utility of the results

15. Using and Communicating the Results

Sections 15.1-15.3 by Sue Stolton and Nigel Dudley

Section 15.4-15.5 by Marianne Kettunen, and Dalia D’Amato

15.1 Understanding, awareness and advocacy

15.2 Support to decision-making and management

15.3 Identifying and addressing social impacts

15.4 Mobilizing funds

15.5 Considering synergies and conflicts with biodiversity conservation


16. Conclusions and Way Forward

Marianne Kettunen and Patrick ten Brink

16.1 Towards a full appreciation and uptake of benefits provided by protected areas

16.2 An integrated future vision for protected areas: benefits for biodiversity and people


About the Editors

Marianne Kettunen is Senior Policy Analyst at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and Guest Researcher at the Finnish Environment Institute, Helsinki, Finland with dedicated experience in studies, capacity building and policy influence related to the socio-economic role of biodiversity and ecosystem services and supporting the integration of these aspects into decision-making processes.

Patrick ten Brink is Senior Fellow and Head of Office at the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) in Brussels, Belgium. He is also the editor of the book: "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in National and International Policy Making", developed within "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity" (TEEB) project, administered by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Industries / Park & Recreation Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
NATURE / Endangered Species
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Ecology