A team of Winnipeg-based researchers has calculated that keeping intact a 40,000-square-kilometre tract of boreal forest in Manitoba and Ontario is worth upwards of $120 million per year.
The year-long study, conducted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, will form part of the application package that the non-profit Pimachiowin Aki Corporation will submit to UNESCO in three years or so in an effort to have the land designated a world heritage site.
Sophia Rabliauskas, a spokeswoman for the corporation, said putting an economic value on the land should strengthen the bid by helping people see what her community has long known.
“It’s common sense to us that the land, the trees, the waters, the fish, the animals are valuable to us,” she said.
The researchers placed values on everything from the region’s recreational fishing opportunities to the carbon sequestration provided by the trees, using methods from a field that is sometimes termed green economics.