Valuing Indigenous cultural connections

Ecosystem accounts are intended to help people monitor the health of the environment, by measuring (‘valuing’) the ways in which humans benefit from nature. These accounts are based on the ecosystem-services framework which groups benefits into three broad categories:

  • provisioning services, including food, fresh water, wood, fibre and fuel
  • regulating services, including natural processes that control flood and disease, purify water, reduce erosion and store carbon
  • cultural services, where nature inspires and supports spirituality, provides aesthetic benefits, and is used for recreation, tourism and education.

In western cultures, it is common to estimate the monetary value of these services by working out how much they benefit humans. Values may be compared with each other or added together to estimate the value of an entire ecosystem.