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Greater Manchester Produces First City Region-Wide Ecosystem Services Opportunity Mapping Tool

The first city region-wide Ecosystem Services Opportunity Mapping Tool was launched as part of the Mayors Green Summit in March and provides a valuable resource for funders, policy-makers, project developers, partnerships and infrastructure planners to inform and support their decisions on the protection of the natural environment and investment projects.

The Ecosystem Services Opportunity Mapping Tool was developed for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) by consultants The Environment Partnership and was funded by the Revolving Investments Cities Europe (RICE) project. The tool extends the Ecosystem Services Opportunity Mapping Assessment developed for the Irwell Management Catchment across the whole of Greater Manchester. The tool forms part of a larger suite of natural capital projects being developed as part of the Natural Course EU Life Integrated Project and Urban Pioneer Project.

The Ecosystem Services Opportunity Mapping Tool assesses each land parcel against potential for physical, social, economic, geographical and cultural characteristics. It offers the potential to intervene and improve ecosystem services functioning which can result in an uplift in natural capital value.

Opportunities arise where there is a combination of feasibility and need.  The tool flags up the areas with greater opportunity in red and proceeds to score the chosen area based on nine ecosystem services, including water quality, flood mitigation, amenity, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, food, leisure and recreation, timber and air quality.

This tool seeks to improve the understanding of the scale and value of ecosystem services in areas across Greater Manchester, helping to inform key partners in the public, private and third sectors where they can help to develop or improve ecosystem services. The layer also offers potential actions that could be taken in these areas of opportunity to improve the delivery of ecosystem services. For example, to improve air quality, measures could include the provision of street trees or green commuter routes. The Ecosystem Services Opportunity Mapping Tool for Greater Manchester provides an excellent opportunity to support and inform future projects.

To supplement the Ecosystem Services Opportunity Mapping Tool an easy to read guidance note as well as an interactive video providing step by step approaches to using the tool have been produced.  On the 2nd of May 2019 a Natural Capital Dissemination and Training Workshop is taking place to introduce the tool to stakeholders who want to utilise the tool to explore and test their own ideas for projects which benefit both the natural environment, and communities in Greater Manchester.

If you would like to find out more about the Ecosystem Services Opportunity Mapping Tool or the natural capital approaches in more detail then contact Krista Patrick, Natural Capital Coordinator at the GMCA