The methodical guide elaborated by Eco-Tiras is dedicated to economic valuation of ecosystem services in the context of climate change and hydropower impact on the state of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and their services. The book presents and uses a methodology of economic valuation that can be used at different scales. The proposed methodology combines latest international and Moldova’s national experience in the field, triggered by general recognition that ecosystems loss and fragmentation are the greatest worldwide threat to natural biodiversity and a primary cause of species extinction. The methodology of economic valuation presented in this book depends both on the type of ecosystem service and spatial scale of valuation. In particular, there were separately considered the provisioning, regulating, habitat, and cultural ecosystems services on two spatial scales catchment and water body. The catchment (basin) scale offers an area for application of the ecosystem services concept in river basins management; the catchment is also an appropriate scale to observe and quantify processes related to a water cycle or to implement monitoring and management plans. As such a scale in this study, the Dniester River basin below the Dniester Hydropower Complex was selected. At a water body scale, the main focus of economic valuation is to analyze specific functions of ecosystems, which support certain ecosystem services, and to study their alteration under specific impacts and their different combinations.
The proposed methodology of economic valuation is demonstrated at the Ramsar site “Lower Dniester” because of an special role, attribute to wetlands. These ecosystems drastically reduced in their number and areas in many world regions due to climate warming, as a result the water recourses are decreasing considerably. The demonstration of the purely economic valuation of ecosystem services is complemented by examples of evaluating the results of hydropower and climate change impacts on the Dniester River environment. These estimates are based on the results of the relevant monitoring of physical and biochemical transformations in ecosystems that were identified in the framework of this project’s other activities.
On the whole, considering an economic valuation as a prerequisite for making optimal choices regarding the protection and conservation of ecosystems and their services, the carried-out study describes some approaches and provides a set of tools and recommendations for making an informed decision . The Guide could be downloaded here.