The Natural Capital Values of Ireland’s Native Woodlands

In 2012, Woodlands of Ireland commissioned a report on the natural capital value of Ireland’s native woodlands. The task of compiling this report was undertaken by Optimize Ltd and was completed in late 2013 after editing. Subsequently, an abbreviated version of the report with key findings and recommendations was produced and designed to make it more attractive for the reader. The full and abbreviated reports on the natural capital value of native woodland are available to download below.

The Natural Capital Values of Native Woodland in Ireland by Craig Bullock and Jerry Hawe


“Extensive native forest once covered most of Ireland. Today only about 100,000 hectares of this lost forest remains or approximately 1.2% of the land area. This remnant forest is not just a natural asset, but a natural capital asset that provides a range of benefits in the form of ecosystem goods and services. At present, native woodlands form 14% of our total forest cover – the rest is made up mostly of exotic conifer plantations. Native woodlands are generally much richer in natural capital than exotic plantations. This report quantifies, for the first time, the economic value of the ecosystem goods and services provided by the natural capital of Ireland’s native woodlands. Failure to include natural capital values in national accounting systems incurs high but hitherto invisible costs: a sound business axiom warns that assets that are not clearly accounted for cannot be managed well, and may not be managed at all. Recent international studies, especially the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and The Economics of Ecology and Biodiversity (TEEB), have led to increasing recognition of the economic damage done by this hidden deficit. It is often said that nature is priceless, and that is true in some respects. But if we fail to price natural capital and ecosystem goods and services, then we will continue to treat critically important aspects of nature as if they were worthless. This failure is now being addressed by the European Union. The EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy requires Member States to integrate these values into national accounting and reporting systems by the end of this decade.”


Natural Capital Value of Native Woodlands(Abbreviated version – March2014)     Natural Capital Value of Native Woodland in Ireland(Long version – Mar2014)


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