Imagine the change in water quality from poor to excellent. Certain ecosystems provide water purification services. The way to economically evaluate their value is by measuring ‘willingness to pay’: how much would the average consumer be willing to pay for improvement of poor-quality water?
This example of economic assessment of a service provided by the natural ecosystem was brought by Prof. Brett Day and Dr. Carlo Fezzi in their lecture at the expert workshop of the ‘Ecosystems and Human Well-being – A National Assessment’ project, a project to evaluate ecosystem services in Israel, led by HaMaarag. The workshop was organized by HaMaarag and the Ministry for Environmental Protection, for the project’s writing staff and council, as part of TAIEX, a European Union project that assists in financing and organizing scientific workshops with the participation of European experts. The aim of the workshop, that took place on 31.3–1.4.15 at Ma’ale Hachamisha, was to study the British assessment project (UK-NEA) and its follow-on project, the two most comprehensive projects that have been conducted at a national level. To this end, leading British experts who are partners in these projects were invited to Israel: Prof. Day and Dr. Fezzi lectured on economic assessment of ecosystem services, while Prof. Andrew Church and Dr. Jasper Kenter lectured on a different, evasive aspect of ecosystem service assessment – cultural services and social evaluation.
The first day of the workshop was dedicated to lectures by the experts and principled discussions with them, while the second day was centered around group work on the different parts of the project.