The economic value of ecosystem goods and services: The case of Mogale's gate biodiversity centre, South Africa
Natural capital provides various ecosystem goods and services essential to the survival of mankind. In most cases, however, the markets for natural capital are incomplete. As a result, ecosystem goods and services are being enjoyed “freely”. Here we assess the economic value of the ecosystem goods and services of Mogale’s Gate Biodiversity Centre (MGBC) in South Africa using direct market values. We estimate the economic value of the natural capital stocks for game and carbon at approximately ZAR42 million (US$3 million) for 2015. As for the flows of ecosystem goods and services, the economic value was estimated to be approximately ZAR23 million (US$1,65 million) for 2015. Discounting these flow values into perpetuity and subtracting the discounted management cost yields the true economic value of the MGBC, which ranges between at least US$15,5 and US$41 million, depending on the discount rate used. This is between 25 and 67 times greater than the resource’s published capital value. It is this gross underrepresentation of the true value of natural capital that often leads to its destruction. It is strongly recommended that MGBC be represented by its true value in the integrated report of its owner and that it be managed accordingly.