Ecosystems valuation pushed for resource extraction projects

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/08 March) – Local government units and communities can decide better on extraction projects in their area if they measure first the value of their ecosystem’s resources against the benefit of such projects, Dr. Tonie Balangue, a consultant on environment and natural resources management said.

He said it would enhance the decision making process and make proponents pay for the actual cost if local government units and communities will assign a value to the environmental services of their ecosystems.

In a workshop on biodiversity conservation through management of natural resources, Balangue said the method is scientific and will provide a clear assessment of the environment.

He said ecosystems valuation is a very significant feature of the payment for environmental services, which he said is an important mechanism for local governments to collect funds environmental rehabilitation.

He said the present system of ecosystems valuation used by environment agencies to collect user’s fees is not scientific but just based on estimates.

He cited that the usual resources that are valuated are minerals, logs, and non-timber products.

But Bukidnon’s major resource, water, has an even higher value since the province is the headwater source of many river systems in Mindanao, he said.

Balangue said that while the importance of water may be used as leverage, the amount of user’s fee should not be imposed but negotiated based on the “willingness to pay” principle to make users share the cost of rehabilitating the environment. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)