Ecosystem services

Ecosystem services (ESS) are the revenues from natural systems that enhance human well-being. The CATCH project developed an ecosystem self-assessment method to help midsized cities understand how to identify, assess, and value ecosystem services in their cities.

Natural systems in cities are often referred to as “the urban natural capital”. Urban planners can maximize the benefits of these ecosystem services by strategies that are known as “renaturing cities’’, ‘’nature-based solutions’’, ‘’urban greening’’ and ‘’green infrastructure’’.

Method for quantification of the value of ecosystem services

The CATCH ecosystem self-assessment supports informed decision-making, while leaving it to the users to choose the levels of inclusiveness, precision, and certainty. The method does not impose directions for action, but rather presents perspectives to the users.

In four steps, the ecosystem self-assessment presents multiple options to identify, assess, and value ecosystem services. The options are described in a ‘cookbook’. This enables users to tailor their analysis to local context and needs. This Stepwise CATCH ESS Method is available here.

Good example stories 

Building on this method, the CATCH pilots have demonstrated how climate change adaptation projects influence natural systems in cities and how they subsequently influence the wellbeing of residents:

Lessons learned

As a result from the experiences from CATCH with ESS, a folder with recommendations and key takeaways was developed by the project partners.