The economic valuation of the ecosystem services provided by the National System of Protected Areas (SINAP), was carried under the frame of the SINAP ́s Reengineering Project sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of the Dominican Republic (MARENA), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). At the time of the study, the SINAP consisted of 123 conservation units, covering a land area of 1,253,437.15 hectares equivalent to 12,534.37 km2, which represent the 25.7 % of the country’s surface.
Three valuation scenarios were defined: a basic scenario, a business as usual scenario, and a superior scenario. In the basic scenario, the contribution of ecosystem services was estimated at 2.2 % of GDP, in the business as usual one the value reached the 4.2 % of the GDP and the above scenario the value was 7.6 % of the Dominican GDP.
In methodological terms the study was structured in three stages: 1) the identification of ecosystem services and the classification of the SINAP’s ecosystems; 2) the definition of values for each service identified through the benefits transfer approach, and 3) the development of contingent valuation. Twenty ecosystem services were identified for benefit transfer, of which twelve were previously estimated in the Dominican Republic and updated by inflation. The remaining eight transfer values were adjusted, first by inflation and then by a conversion factor of Purchase Power Parity in U.S. dollars. One thousand five hundred fifty-seven individuals stratified by provinces and administrative regions answered contingent valuation.
Finally and considering the business as usual scenario, the vector of ecosystem services with the highest incidence in the total economic value of SINAP, was the vector of provisioning services (80.2 %), followed by regulation services (10 %), then by support services (5.3 %), then by the legacy or non-use values (4.4 %) and finally, by cultural services (0.1 %).
- Victor Gómez-Valenzuela, Ph.D., Research Professor, Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC)