By Rudolf de Groot, Robert Costanza, Dieter Van den Broeck, James Aronson, Benjamin Burkhard, Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Roy Haines-Young, Ida Kubiszewski, Felix Müller, Irene Petrosillo, Marion Potschin, Sander van der Ploeg, Gianni Zurlini
Interest in both the science and practice of ecosystem services is on the rise. Many studies have confirmed the economic value of investing in the conservation, restoration, and sustainable use of ecosystem services.1–5 This burgeoning world is now in need of institutions capable of managing the thousands of projects currently devoted to these issues. One such project can be found at the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve in South Africa. The Mega Reserve is a World Heritage site and nature reserve and includes private and community land. Over several decades, areas across the reserve have been subjected to severe ecological degradation, largely a result of regional overgrazing by domestic livestock, large-scale crop irrigation, and invasive species. The impacts include riverbank erosion, a lowering of the groundwater table, and a decline of water supply to the downstream nature reserve. This loss of natural capital and decline of derived ecosystem services is causing great socioeconomic strain on the area and its people.
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“A Global Partnership for Ecosystem Services”