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Could we generate AUD$100 million of ecosystem services from an investment of $8.5 million? The answer is yes.

We worked with Deakin University and The Nature Conservancy to examine past trends and potential future restoration options in two large metropolitan bays – Western Port and Port Phillip in Victoria.

Coastal and marine ecosystems provide enormous benefits to humanity, including seafood, climate regulation and coastal protection. But, despite an understanding of the importance of these ecosystems, they continue to decline in both extent and condition, along with many of the services they provide.

Our study found that if all sites in the two bays were restored, the overall investment-benefit ratio would be 10.5, creating substantial gains in ecosystem services.

This study highlights:

  • The importance of accounting in developing a comprehensive assessment of the services that nature provides, and the link between restoration efforts, ecosystem health and ecosystem services
  • How accounting information can be used to provide decision-relevant indicators such as return on investment ratios

This information can be extrapolated to inform management and policy decision-making in a range of environmental contexts, yet institutionalisation of accounting within private and public organisations is key.

Please access the report titled Prioritising the restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems using ecosystem accounting.