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Valuing the benefits from nature: How renaturalization projects, like the Visschebelt-Koemaste project near Hellendoorn, may benefit the regional economy.

Groothuis, Ellen (2012) Valuing the benefits from nature: How renaturalization projects, like the Visschebelt-Koemaste project near Hellendoorn, may benefit the regional economy.

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Abstract:The Regge river runs through the western part of the region Twente. In the past century, the river has been canalized in order to facilitate shipping and agriculture. However, over the past few decades the view on water management has changed: the changing climate causes more extreme wet and dry periods. Change is therefore needed for the water systems in the Netherlands, water storage capacity is needed in order to prevent flooding in the future. The Regge renaturalization projects aim to transform the Regge river into a dynamic and resilient water system, with room for water storage capacity. Also, the projects aim to redesign the Regge valley into nature area, that fits in the Ecological Main Structure, or EHS. The Visschebelt-Koemaste project is one of the Regge subprojects, located near Hellendoorn. The Waterboard Regge and Dinkel and Municipality Hellendoorn work together in order to raise water storage capacity, implement the objectives of EHS and improve recreation opportunities in the area. The costs of the project are estimated at 5 million euros. This report aims to justify these investments made, by looking at the benefits that arise from them. The literature review has resulted in four different types of benefits for the project: natural, recreational, cultural-historical and regional business benefits. The report focuses on the benefits from nature, since it connects to the focus of the waterboard and municipality, and because benefits from nature have an influence on the other groups of benefits found. Benefits from nature, or ecological benefits, are hard to measure, and there are many ways to do so. The benefits from nature for the Visschebelt-Koemaste project are reviewed by using a report on the general estimate of benefits for Natura-2000 areas, and by using the Total Economic Value (TEV) method. The TEV method has proven to be the most complete and useful method. For this method, the benefits from nature that arise in the Visschebelt- Koemaste project are subcategorized into use and non-use values. This has resulted in a list of both priced and non-priced values. The benefits from nature found for the Visschebelt-Koemaste project are the following ones: shared use of land in the area (non-priced), increase in recreational activity (priced), improved residential joy (priced), preventing dehydration of land (non-priced), improving infrastructure (non-priced), improving biodiversity and fitting into the EHS (non-priced) and the existence value of nature (priced). The priced benefits of nature, using TEV, add up to a total value of €575.038,-, plus an annual value of €803.871,- per year. This is considered to be a minimum amount, since it does not include the non-priced effects, that may be of big importance as well. With all the benefits from nature that come with the implementation of the plans, the Visschebelt-Koemaste project has showed that there are many ways in which a naturalization project can be of added value to society, and that the investments are definitely no waste of money. The tight cooperation between the municipality and waterboard in designing the Visschebelt-Koemaste project plan has helped to optimize those benefits, by using all opportunities to design an all-round new nature area. Although it has proven to be hard to find a reliable ‘value of nature’, highlighting all areas in which benefits may arise, helps to justify the investments made in renaturalization projects. Understanding the fact that there are much more benefits from nature than one would think, will also help to convince the general public of the importance of similar projects. - 4 - It is therefore recommended that for future similar projects, the benefits that may arise from them are appreciated beforehand. Not linking the goals of renaturalization projects to the local economy can be a missed opportunity, since it will help to see the opportunities to create value and stimulate economic growth in a region. Future research should focus on quantifying benefits. For the Visschebelt-Koemaste project, and most similar projects, benefits are usually not quantified, because it is too costand time consuming. However, quantifying the benefits can prove the added value of nature improvement and support this with figures and facts. It may also help to find out which nature types or activities are valued highest by the general public, and could therefore increase the success of similar future projects.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Administration BSc (56834)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/62196
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