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Integrating Ecosystem Services (ES) Concept into Environmental Impact Assessment

Info: 6632 words (27 pages) Dissertation
Published: 10th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Environmental Studies


I. – Introduction

Ecosystem services are “the benefits generated by ecosystem for human well- being”, defined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (2005). The MEA took a step on for the future vision of ES and since then efforts to delivery it have been put it in practice (Daily, Polasky et al. 2009). ES are indispensable for life on earth, as well as indicating the actual ecosystem condition in a specific area (Haines-Young and Potschin 2008). Thus, policy makers and researchers have been focusing in ES. After the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (2005) aligned to the ES description in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (2012), the concept of ES gained more attention (Daily, Polasky et al. 2009) for its contribution in climate and climate change mitigation alternative, but specially for linking the relationship between the poor in rural areas with their natural environment and the dependency for livelihoods. The MEA (2005) grouped the ES in four different categories:  Provisioning (non-timber forest products (NTFP), food, and timber), regulating (climate regulation), supporting (nutrient cycling), and cultural services (spiritual and sacred places).  The rural people in Lao are heavily dependent in ES, 90% of people are engage in collection of NTFP, and is the second major contributor the livelihood after agriculture activity (Tong 2009).

According to international and Lao PDR legislation, all business and projects development in order to place and operate are required to have the social and environmental impact assessment (ESIA). ESIA is the way to “identify, predict and assess the type of scale of potential biodiversity impacts, and opportunities to benefit the conservation associated with any business activities or projects” (IFC 2016). Earth System is a multinational environmental and social consulting company established in 1993, with offices in Asia, Europe and Africa and Oceania with more than 500 projects developed all over the world and considerable number in Lao PDR. In the pathway to work with international standards, Earth Systems is updating his studies constantly, consolidating the ES chapter in the ESIA is one of the most recent project as the context of Lao PDR required further detail in the ES as they are more dependant in ES than many other countries in the region, it might result in difficulties and more complex studies but, the ES concept in becoming an important component for decision making in government bodies. Additionally, ESIA with inclusion of the ES is now required by the Environmental and Social Performance Standards (PS) of the IFC. This requirement is aligned with the recommendation of the CBD, thus this chapter will be aligned with this standards MEA (2005) (CBD 2012).

The inclusion of ES in an exclusive chapter in the ESIA is a new challenge for the company. The concept of ES has been cover in most previous ESIAs but included in different chapters with limited coverage. ES chapter in ESIA in not going to be an independent chapter because it cover all components of the project such as water, land, air etc. as one. ES are formed as a result of interacting biotic and abiotic components in the environment (MEA 2005). Thus, the information displayed in ES chapter depends heavily on that data obtained for other chapters in the report (including: socio-economic, biodiversity, soils, water quality and hydrology, cumulative impacts). However, more attention and broader information need to be collected in the Household survey in order to understand the importance of the different ES for the livelihood of villages affected by the project. The mentioned above lead us to the following project objectives.

II. – Project objectives

  • To integrate Ecosystem Services (ES) concept into environmental Impact assessment.
  • To Identify the ecosystem services for which project impacts could lead to a loss in human well-being
  • To elaborate the baseline for the Ecosystem chapter in Social and Environmental Impact Assessment.

III. – Host Institution

Earth systems is a multinational environmental and social consulting company with more the 20 years of experience with private and public sector. The internship was based in Laos PDR – Vientiane one of the most important offices after Melbourne office for the company. Earth Systems is currently conducting the ESIA for a plantation company in located in two provinces in Central Laos, Bolikhamxay and Khammouane Provinces. The interest for the incorporation of ES for the company relies on the impacts that eucalyptus plantation are causing in the region. The fragmentation of the ecosystem due to introduction of exotic species (Eucalyptus) has been recorded by the Government of Lao PDR and previous ESIAs studies of Erath Systems

IV. – Background

Lao PDR is a country with rich in natural resources (Tropical forest, Mekong River and contributories). Offering a variety of ES as the main source for food, cash income for most households in rural Lao. Records from the government of Lao PDR shows that inhabitants directly depends on ecosystem services such as fertile soils, regular rainfall, natural pollination, and natural regulation of pests for successful agriculture, collection of NTFP. Also, more of the protein intake comes from the existence of wild animal and plant species available to hunt and gather for food and medicines, access to fresh drinking water, the availability of firewood for heating and cooking, and the maintenance of the ‘green infrastructure’ as a natural platform for resilience (e.g., natural forest land for protection from erosion, storms and floods) (FAO 2014).

4.1 IFC Performance Standards

IFC Performance Standard 6 outlines several requirements related to Ecosystem services including the requirement for a full consideration of project impacts on ecosystem services, an outline of management and mitigation measures to reduce these impacts and a determination of residual impacts likely to occur as a result of the Project’s implementation. This will also include an identification of priority ecosystem services, the criteria for which is outlined below. The following text from IFC (2012) outlines these requirements:

  • The risks and impacts identification process as set out in Performance Standard 1 should consider direct and indirect project-related impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services and identify any significant residual impacts. This process will consider relevant threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, especially focusing on habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, invasive alien species, overexploitation, hydrological changes, nutrient loading, and pollution
  • As a matter of priority, the client should seek to avoid impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services. When avoidance of impacts is not possible, measures to minimize impacts and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services should be implemented

Some areas of habitat and land use may be particularly important for the provision of ecosystem services and identified as priority areas/services for the Project. Priority ecosystem services are designated in IFC Performance Standard 6 (2012) as two fold:

  • “Those services on which project operations are most likely to have an impact and, therefore, which result in adverse impacts to Affected Communities; and/or”
  • “Those services on which the project is directly dependent for its operations (e.g., water). When Affected Communities are likely to be impacted, they should participate in the determination of priority ecosystem services in accordance with the stakeholder engagement process as defined in Performance Standard 1”

Where impacts on priority ecosystem services are significant or where the effects on ecosystem services are of relevance to affected communities, the Project should aim to avoid all adverse impacts (IFC, 2012) through an appropriate implementation of the mitigation hierarchy. Where these impacts cannot be avoided IFC PS6 outlines that “the client will minimize them and implement mitigation measures that aim to maintain the value and functionality of priority services.”

4.2 Ecosystem services Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Ecosystems provide more than the resources needed for material welfare and livelihoods. In addition to supporting all life and regulating natural systems, they specifically provide benefits to people through services including the goods produced by the environment, the results of environmental regulatory processes, cultural benefits and supportive services. Thus, ecosystem services can be defined as the benefits humanity derives from natural ecosystems. See table 1 for more detail in ES definition and classification by the MEA (2005)

Table 1 Ecosystem Services

(Source: MEA 2005)

IFC Performance Standard 6 provides the following definition of Ecosystem services which are concurrent with categories outlined by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005:

“Ecosystem services are the benefits that people, including businesses, derive from ecosystems. Ecosystem services are organized into four types: (i) provisioning services which are the products people obtain from ecosystems; (ii) regulating services, which are the benefits people obtain from the regulation of ecosystem processes; (iii) cultural services which are the nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems; and (iv) supporting services, which are the natural processes that maintain the other services.” (IFC, 2012)

4.3 Ecosystem Services as an evaluation tool in environmental sciences

The new regulatory and financial impact standards require that ESIA studies include impacts on ES. There are some efforts to provide technical guidance to address ES such as the WRI “Waving Ecosystem Services into Social and Environmental Impact Assessment” (WRI 2012) and the “Ecosystem Service Assessment- How to do one in practice” (Everard and Waters 2013), but there is no a regulatory legislation international or in Lao PDR for the incorporation of  ES in ESIA. Stakeholders are crucial in outlining the importance of ecosystem services, they need to be engaged in collaborative processes to identify all the priority ES, strategic options, and in the assessment of opportunities and risks. The MEA (2005) revealed that 60% of the assessed ES were being degraded or used unsustainably, causing disproportionate impacts, contributing to social disparities, increased poverty and social conflicts around the world. These are consideration for the inclusion of ES a as tool to reduce dramatic effects on the environment and humans that we depend of the functioning of ES.

4.4 Importance of ecosystem services in ESIA

The importance of the ES services rely on the coverage and he relationship between people and the natural environment, as many other approaches in the natural science, here are weaknesses and strength see table below. However, ES are not clear cut and context specific.

Table 2 Strengths and weakness of ES in ESIAs

Strengths Weaknesses
-Ecosystem services doesn’t deal with an specific environmental component such as air, water or soil, it considers the result on the interaction of this different component and how they’re delivery to human well-being.

-Stakeholders are the key and are priority during assessment.

-Incorporating ecosystem services into environmental  helps decision-makers to consider on the impact of the environment on their plan, programme or project rather than just vice versa

-The term ecosystem services is rarely or unknown by local villages

-The complexity of a good ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services lead to a complex concept difficult to transfer to a local level.

-The complexity of the ecosystem services could result in time consuming during assessment.

-There are projects where ecosystem services are likely to have no significance.

(Baker, Sheate et al. 2013)

4.6 Ecosystem Services – Study cases

Within Earth Systems there is no full ES chapter cover in an ESIA yet. Earth Systems has been including ES in different chapter covered in a briefly way. For example, ES has been included in the socio-economic and biodiversity setting chapter. There are some ESIAs have been included in different projects around the world. For example, “The integrated Nicaragua Grand Canal project” conducted by the HKND GROUP included the ES in the ESIA because in Nicaragua as in Lao PDR rural communities still heavily dependant on ES for their livelihoods. The HKND GROUP has a large coverage of ES services in exclusive chapter, the way the approach ES chapter was also guided by the IFC and WRI guidelines (HKND 2015). Other examples where ES were included in Environmental Impact Assessment are 5 study cases carried by Rosa and Sánchez (2015).The first Oyu Tolgoi is the largest copper-gold deposit in Mongolia, the affected region comprises mostly pastureland (rangelands). The second one is Merian, a gold mining project is located in the north-eastern part of Suriname and includes three open pits, affecting forest land. The third is Gamsberg is an expansion of a mine in operation since 1998 in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, the project includes an open pit that were expected to affect agriculture land. The fourth is Simandou iron ore mining project is composed by two open pits, the affected area includes large aquatic ecosystem and tropical forest, with most of the inhabitants rely on agriculture; forest products, mangrove and sub-montane grassland. And finally, Adjaristsqali mining project with the area of influence were expected to change and fragment forest and agricultural land. The first three projects covered the impacts on all ecosystem services but within different chapters of the main ESIA report.  While the Simandou ESIA repot covered the impacts on ecosystem services in the chapter of Ecology and Biodiversity. Rosa and Sánchez (2015) conclude that in Oyu Tolgoi and Simandou the incorporation of Ecosystem Services contributed in the improvement of the impact and mitigation analysis and in the Merian and Gamsberg more ecosystem services approaches were avoided or not implemented, finally they suggest that Ecosystem Services approach in ESIA will result beneficial in cases where practitioners understand the weakness and strengths of the Ecosystem Services.

V. – Methodology

The information and data sources for the ecosystem services have been sought from other SEIA chapter, e.g. Socio-economic, biodiversity, water, etc. and especially from the undertaken socioeconomic survey, including stakeholder engagement and Secondary information from local government and village focus survey.

5.1 Literature review

  • Review of work undertaken in the previous ESIAs from 2009 and project feasibility studies
  • Review of all secondary information from different government organization at the local, provincial and national level (e.g. land use plan, protected areas, etc.).
  • A review of all accessible information, public and private studies have been compiled in the different chapters within the main ESIA report.
  • Review of international standards for incorporating ES into ESIAs. For example, ES in environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) is now required by the Environmental and Social Performance Standards (PS) of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). This requirement is aligned with the recommendation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

5.2 Field surveys

Village consultations were conducted along the alignment to inform the affected communities about the status of the Project and to collate their opinions and concerns about the development of the de Project operations within and/or around the village area. This is detailed in Chapter xxxx. As part of these consultations, information on ecosystem services was obtained including information on livelihoods and resource extraction from the surrounding habitats by:

  • Village interviews (100% of project affected villages)
  • Focus group discussions (XX% of Project villages, determined according to the methodology described in Chapter XX)
  • Specific Biodiversity focus group discussions
  • Field surveys approximately 30% of the plantation area
  • Consultation with applicable Central, Provincial, District government authorities and applicable line agencies;

Focus group discussion with village chiefs and local forest staff (province authorities) emphasising which are the most important ecosystem services for them and their communities.

5.3 Satellite Imagery assessment

  • The assessment of satellite imagery for the project footprint will taking into consideration a day walk from centred location to the surrounding areas to collect natural resources.  Approximately 10km of radius from villages or houses.

VI. – Outcomes

6.1 Incorporation of ES into ESIA

Lao PDR is considered as a hotspot for biodiversity conservation and the LPFL project is located in forested and degraded land in two provinces in Central Lao. These two provinces are covered by forest land and the impacts of the establishment of eucalyptus plantation has led to the Government of Lao PDR required ESIA with international standards fort the project approval. Earth Systems with many years in the industry elaborating ESIA with international standards has the lead to conduct the ESIA for the LPFL plantation.

Five habitats have been identified for the ecosystems services in the project area: Natural forest, fallow forest, plantations, agriculture and freshwater habitat. Villages benefits from these ecosystems for most household livelihoods. Thus the importance to include the ecosystem services   in order to better understand the linkages of affected villages and the ecosystems. For more than hundred years rural Lao people have been depending in Ecosystem Services as the basis for subsistence and development. The successful delivery of ES reliant on healthy ecosystem functioning. For example, the local villages identified the importance of the forest cover in mitigating soil erosion, and flooding. Flooding and erosion due to loss of forest cover are very common in the region. We introduce the term “ecosystem services” in project villages as they were not aware of the term but they realized that they depend heavily in ES.

6.2 Identification of ES

Lao PDR is endowed with rich forest resources and biodiversity. There are Natural forests lands and degraded lands where people can have access to collect and exploit natural resources, in natural forest the access is limited but allowed while in degraded forest the access in free. Plantation or disturbed areas cannot provide the same resources. Most Natural forest is in any kind of protection under the Lao PDR regulation or at the Provincial level.

Table 3 Provisioning Ecosystem services in LPFL project

Ecosystem services Natural forest Plantation Fallow forest Agriculture land Freshwater habitat
Crop cultivation Shifting cultivation is a common practice

Agriculture is the primary livelihood activity practice by over 80% of households in the project area

Livestock Poultry, cattle, goat, and buffalo are the main livestock farming that are mainly for self-consumption and no more than 30% for sale

-Edible plants


-Medicinal plants


NTFP can be collected mainly in the entire ecosystems within the area of influence of the project. Bamboo shoots, mushrooms, and rattan are the most collected species.
Timber Forest Products



Timber forest products are mainly for household use mostly collected from natural evergreen and Dry dipterocarp forest

There is no commercial logging in the project area or surrounding forest, but timber is important for the construction of houses

Fishing Inland fishing in an important subsistence activity for villagers although it is marginal in terms of income generation for most villagers. Mainly for consumption but there are villages that rely on fishing activities for cash income e.g. Nong Hoi village (80%)
Hunting Hunting of non-protected species is allowed and practiced in most villages approximately 50% for sale and 50% for consumption.

6.2.1 Satellite Imagery Assessment

A detailed analysis of land use and habitat type was conducted using satellite imagery of the Project footprint in GIS software. This imagery varied in date between 2015 and 2017 depending on which imagery was the most recent available See figure 1 and 2 (Google Earth, 2017) . Areas of uncertainty were ground-truthed in fieldwork exercises in June 2017 where information on habitat type, main floristic composition and degradation processes was collected. This habitat and land use mapping exercise will feed in to the discussion of ecosystem services provided by the area surrounding the Project including the types and extent of ecosystem services provided.

Figure 1 Project Plantation distribution

Figure 2 Project Plantation- planted and non-planted areas

6.3 Baseline of ES in Project Area

6.3.1 Provisioning services

Communities living in, and surrounding the Project Area rely on the environment for several provisioning services. This includes agricultural production and the hunting/farming of fish in wetlands, rivers and ponds and the ecosystem services from forest lands for collection of NTFP ans TFP. These services provided by the environment are more prominent in the westerly areas far from the highway 13. . Areas alongside the Highway 13 in central Lao are more populated and the business sect has growth in the last 20 year, changing the way of living and reducing the depend of ES for livelihoods.

Forested areas
  • NTFP

Most NTFP are relatively fast-growing and harvesting rates are believe to be sustainable, but recent survey shows the availability of NTFP have reduce in more than 40% due to population growth and the lease and concession land for plantation of exotic species such as rubber, eucalyptus, and acacia. Bamboo shoot, rattan and mushrooms are the species more collected as edible plants.

  • Firewood

Local communities depend of the collection of firewood for heating and cooking, villagers travel approximately a range of 3km to 15 km in order to collect firewood. Most firewood is collected from degraded forest (Fallow forest), in natural forest the availability of firewood is limited

  • Medicinal plants

 Plant species used for medicine are distributed in all Lao PDR, outside and inside project area. According to the survey, the dependency of natural medicine has reduced due to access to basic drugs.  Villages in the margin of the highway 13 have reduced the dependency of natural medicine because of the access to health services. However, in the west side of the project area in villages of Bualapha and Mahaxay the limited access to health facilities make them still rely on medicinal plants for healing purposes, so the dependency of medicinal plant still considerably important. The most common areas where people collect medicinal plant for sale or self-consumption are natural forest and degraded forest.

  • Timber and charcoal

Villages collect firewood mainly from wooded areas such as fallow and degraded forest and occasionally for natural forest. There is no commercial logging occurring tin the project area. However, harvesting for local consumption is reported in the villages mainly for the construction of houses, alongside other materials such as concrete and tile.  Charcoal is used for commercial and personal use.  Most of the charcoal productions are sold.

  • Livestock 

Livestock farming in a common activity within the project area, livestock usually are bordering de different forest lands. Livestock is allowed in all plantation and fallow forest but restricted in protected areas. Small ruminants can be forum (goat), poultry (chicken), and some cattle (buffalo).

People breed and raised livestock within different land use categories. Pasture are seasonal, villagers take advantage of the fallow forest

  • Hunting

It can be considered as a recreational activity, however, hunting in the project are serves as a source of food and provide minor income for almost all villages surveyed. The household survey indicated that limited dependence on any income derived from hunting. On average 3 % hunting product are sold and the rest in mainly for consumption. Areas commonly where villages hunt are fallow forest and degraded forest. Natural forest allows hunting activities but for non-threat species and access is limited.

Agricultural Land
  • Crop production

Crop cultivation is present in all villages in the project area. Agriculture is the primary livelihood activity practised by more than 90% of households. Rice is the primary grown by most households in local villages followed by maize and cassava. Framing in the primarily a subsistence activity, providing food for household consumption and major cash income source. It is practiced for commercial and subsistence in project area.

Lowlands are highly valued by villagers they are favourable places for intensive permanent cultivation, some are with irrigation system can produce year long. Uplands cultivation doesn’t occur frequently as they rely on the seasonal rain.

Freshwater / freshwater Habitat

Drinking water sources for local communities in villages in the project area include rivers, lakes, springs, rainwater, and grown water. Freshwater for irrigation of paddy rice fields are important for most villages in the lowland plain along highway 13 for the year crop cultivation.

Fishing is a source of free food and does provide income. Rivers, streams and ponds provide fishing opportunities for local villages. The availability of suitable fishing habitats is quite high in terms of streams and rivers water courses. Fishing in one of the most important activities, is considered by villagers as the second most important services after agriculture in the project area.  According to village surveys fishing is an activity practiced by more than 60% for consumption or for cash income. In most villages there are still families that rely on fish for their livelihoods.

6.3.2 Regulating services

Regulating services in the project area are the benefits that villager obtained from the different habitats: Natural Forest, Fallow Forest, Plantations, agricultural land, and fresh water habitats. These habitats provide different regulating services see table 4.  Ecosystems are complex and have the ability of control natural processes. For example, climate and climate change regulation, pest control, erosion prevention, and protection of most natural hazards the villager are exposed in their daily life.

Regulating services associated to freshwater and agriculture lands are covered in in the hydrology and Socio-economic chapter respectively, thus there will not be further discuss in this report.

Table 4 Regulating services in the project area

 Ecosystem Service Natural Forest Fallow Forest/ shifting agriculture Plantation
Air quality regulation Contributes to the regulation of clean trough the complex ecosystem functioning. The healthier the forest the better air quality regulation services (Brandon 2014). The degradation and loss of forests in one of the major contributor for CO2 emission and  has a direct impact on air quality and human health, particularly when forests are cleared by burning (Langmann et al. 2009) At late plantation stage the contribution of climate regulation could be equal or sometimes better that pristine forest as the productivity and annual growth in plantations are
Water regulation

Regulating surface water runoff, aquifer recharge etc.

Provides rainfall interception, soil water storage and fresh water provision

Retains and release water during dry season and improves water quality by preventing erosion and sediments flows to rivers (Important for fishing, irrigation and hydropower)

Secondary forest and especially the patchy forest land of the project have less contribution to water regulation. Low forest cover or open canopies make this forest land more susceptible to surface water runoff The regulation of water in this forest type is relatively lower than natural forest. However, the contribution in connecting forest patches, and forest land cover contributes still aquifer recharge but in less quality.
Moderation of extreme events

Avalanche control, storm damage control, fire regulation (i.e. preventing fires and regulating fire intensity)

Disease/pest regulation

Erosion regulation:

There is always a constant leaf litter layer in the forest floor that protects the soil from the direct impact of raindrops. This keeps high infiltration rates in the soil, avoiding runoff and soil erosion, therefore reducing floods

They are important soil erosion regulators, especially regulating erosion and sediment delivery to the streams.

Pest control is natural because of the variety of different species.

Erosion regulation

In secondary forest can be found forest floor with a good overground leaf cover as the Pristine forest but usually less and relatively more overground than Plantation forest, resulting in average contribution in soil erosion control.

A study carried out by Zamudio (1998), shows that lest herbivore incest affecting eucalyptus plantation were found in adjacent to patchy natural forest areas, therefore natural forest adjacent to plantations, provide free pest control. (Zamudio 1998)

Erosion regulation, if plantation is stablished in degraded land and replace secondary or pristine forest this service is reduced. Soil erosion can be considered because the limited understorey vegetation

Mono-culture plantations are more susceptible pest or disease than mix-stand forest (Jactel and Brockerhoff, 2007).

Climate/ climate change regulation

Carbon sequestration, maintaining and controlling temperature and precipitation

Contributes to cooling hot temperatures, also provides shade and moisture but the impacts are not perceived directly at local level thus the restrictions to access to this forest. At the local scale, secondary forest play role is climate regulation. Provides shade and moisture to villagers and their animals (Martinez 2002) As the ecosystem market is growing, Plantation are an important for global carbon sequestration .

Deforestation is also increasing and plantation are already contributing in increases or forest land cover

consideration (Bauhus 2010)

6.3.4 Supporting services

Supporting services from ecosystems are considered intermediate ecological outcomes that are not directly used rather support other ecosystem services. These services are not directly assessed but are captured elsewhere in the provisioning, regulating, and cultural services that they support. For example, changes to the primary production are captured in the effects on food resources and the non-use services of biodiversity.

6.3.5 Cultural services

Buddhism as the main religion practiced in the project region has many cultural value sites across the two provinces e.g. Temples and ceremonial sites in the forest and headwater streams. Additionally, caves in Bolikhamxay and Khammouane provinces historically have been used for spiritual ceremonies and it continues nowadays. However, during the land acquisition process conducted before the plantation establishment in agreement between different parties such as villages chiefs, district, provincial, and central government. There areas were identified so, to avoid the future land for plantation establishment affect cultural heritage. Further and discuss in detail can be seen in chapter of cultural heritage.

VII. – Contribution and Final Result for Host Industry

The ESIA process that the host industry (Earth Systems) approach in as the following:

  • Initial consultations with village, District, Province and Central Government
  • Field research and technical studies
  • Preparation of draft ESIA report
  • ESIA draft Consultations with village and district
  • ESIA report submitted to interest company
  • Consultations with Province and Central Government
  • Government assessment and final approval

The first two sections highlighted in blue are where I was actively involved during the internship. The ESIA process for more projects in Earth Systems is conducted in a minimum 6 months and can take up to 1 year depending of the complexity of the project.  During August and September I was involved in the field data collection and data processing. My participation and contribution was in a real working project. It is also need to mention that within the internship project I contributed to the implementation of the ES for future ESIA for the company.

The following two figures 3 and 4 illustrate a contrast the different ways of approach ES into ESIA. Most ESIAs include ES in their assessment; however as we can see from the first table of content, ES have been included in the chapter of Socio-Economics and livelihoods. According to Rosa and Sanchez (2015), in order to consider a good approach of ES into ESIA is to have a specific chapter for ES. Table of contents 2 illustrates the topics covered for the baseline chapter in an exclusive dedicated chapter of ES. The methodology for the ES chapter was adapted from the previous ESIA projects conducted by Earth systems and relevant literature for the incorporation of ecosystem services described in section V in this report.

Figure 3 Previous ES approach

Figure 3 Current ES approach

IX. – Dissemination pathway

The internship was conducted with my involvement during real project, the contribution were understood, analysed, and utilised by the company, because there was a continuous monitoring during the period of  internship placement.

The new chapter of ES will is now available for the host company (Earth Systems) and the project the complementary work to finish with the ESIA still in development and will be delivered to the interested company.

VIII. – Conclusion

As any kind of project or business development, eucalyptus plantations may negatively affect local biodiversity and ecosystem functioning that will result in changes and consequences in villager well-being as they depend directly from the provisioning services of the ecosystem. This is the case for the LPFL project context, the introduction of exotic Eucalyptus plantation may fragment the ecosystem in project  area.   The popularity that ecosystem services have gained lately has led to further research resulting in strong argument  for all level of decision making related to ecosystem services, however, there is no a real law or kind of legislation that regulates so the Ecosystem Service concept in EIAs and government bodies are still immature.


The concept of Ecosystem services is not well known among the villagers, including local government workers.

From literature review we conclude that there is no much vegetation in eucalyptus plantation, no direct ecosystem services to villagers


X. – References

International Finance Corporation (2012). International Finance Corporation. [Online] Available from:http://www1.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/corp_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/home

WRI (World Resource Institute). 2013. Weaving Ecosystem Services into Impact Assessment: A Step-by-Step Method. Washingtong, DC: WRI

HKND GROUP (2015). Enviromental and Social Impatc Assessmet Canal de Nicaragua Volume V. [Online] Available from: http://hknd-group.com/portal.php?mod=list&catid=45

Baker, J., et al. (2013). “Ecosystem services in environmental assessment—help or hindrance?” Environmental Impact Assessment Review 40: 3-13.

Daily, G. C., et al. (2009). “Ecosystem services in decision making: time to deliver.” Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(1): 21-28.

Everard, M. and R. Waters (2013). “Ecosystem services assessment: how to do one in practice (Version 1, October 2013).” Institution of Environmental Sciences: London.

Haines-Young, R. and M. Potschin (2008). “England’s terrestrial ecosystem services and the rationale for an ecosystem approach.” DEFRA Overview Report Project Code NR0107.

Tong, P. S. (2009). “Lao People’s Democratic Republic forestry outlook study.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok: FAO.

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