Economic valuation of climate change impacts on ecosystem services provided by dry heathland. (Research)
Dry heathlands have economic value because they provide society with ecosystem goods and services such as climate regulation, biodiversity conservation and recreation. The provision of these ecosystem services may decrease in the future because heathland surfaces are expected to decline in favor of more resilient grasses as a result of longer and more frequent summer droughts. This may change the climate regulating function of the ecosystem, because grasslands have different soil carbon pools and surface albedo. It may also reduce the recreational value provided by heathland areas. However, the rate and extent to which heathland shift into grassland under climate change is unknown. In this research the rate and extent to which heathland shift into grassland under climate change-induced droughts will be estimated based on primary data from the Ecotron Facility. Subsequently, an economic valuation of this shift will be prepared by means of an Integrated Assessment Model. In addition, a contingent visitation analysis for the case of recreational value provided by heathland in the National Park Hoge Kempen (Belgium) will be conducted. The results will inform decision-makers about climate adaptive heathland management in Flanders and Europe.
Period of project
01 October 2020 - 30 September 2022