Mapping Nature’s Hidden Benefits


Human Wrongs Watch

10 September 2020 (UN Environment)* — They say a picture is worth a thousand words, a map could be worth a million. To understand the complex interactions between nature and human society, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has teamed up with MapX – an online platform for managing geospatial data on natural resources.

3Glacial lakes in Bhutan. Photo: NASA 2016

“Nature’s value is often invisible in the economic choices we make,” said Salman Hussain, Head of Ecosystem Services Economics at UNEP.

“As a result, we have been drawing down our natural capital without accounting for the costs of nature’s ability to provide humanity with essential services.”

Map view
MapX storymap ‘making nature’s values visible, view 32

“Tools like MapX are here to help us make more informed decisions,” said Pierre Lacroix, manager of MapX at UNEP-Grid. “Mapping nature’s benefits allow governments and businesses to realize a greater and more targeted investment in natural capital.”

Map view
MapX storymap ‘making nature’s values visible, view 5

By visiting three-country impact stories, viewers will be able to discover the hidden benefits of investing in Nature. Plunge into Bhutanese landscapes and explore how nature is at the heart of economic prosperity.

Encounter smallholder farms in Tanzania and discover how sustainability pays off for all. Or meander through mangroves in Manila Bay under different coastal development scenarios, which directly contributed to a moratorium on land reclamation in 2019.

“In short, maps can take some of the guesswork out of future decision-making.”

Tomas Declercq, Associate Expert at UNEP

“We developed maps that show us scenarios of future ecosystem service provisioning, with the purpose of making better decisions in the present,” said Tomas Declercq, Associate Expert at UNEP. “UNEP’s experience is that maps showing the impact of plausible policy interventions are particularly powerful and can be used as ammunition in the decision-making process. In short, maps can take some of the guesswork out of future decision-making.”

Explore the pilot MapX storymap in its  ‘executive’ version here and in its ‘practitioners’ version here.

Note: a phone screen is too small to display a storymap.

*SOURCE: UN Environment. Go to ORIGINAL.

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