At our farm, we appreciate the beauty of nature and its importance for our present and future wellbeing. We take care of our natural environment and are always keen to improve the management of its resources. But that alone is not enough.
From this year, we would like to gain a deeper understanding of our ecological footprint (expressed in terms of natural and energy resources consumption) and compare it with our natural capital stock, in order to balance our impact on the environment. What’s more, we would like to know which of the many ecosystem services you appreciate most, and maybe even lead you to visit us here in Salento.
What are ecosystem services? And why we are doing this?
Ecosystem services (or ESS) are, simply put, all benefits provided by nature to human beings.
Oxygen, water, food, energy, sunrise and sunset colours, fishing while breathing sea air, as well as jogging in a beautiful natural landscape, are just some examples of the benefits provided every day for free by nature.
An ESS analysis combines environmental, economic and social sciences into a unique operational framework useful to study the complex relationships and multiple values contained in any ecosystem.
In summary, an ESS analysis allows us to:
The first step is therefore to provide evidence of the ESS.
In addition to raising awareness through our room prices, which include the provision of ESS, there are three info panels placed near the providing areas.
We use these panels as a starting point to:
The second step is the assessment of each ESS.
We start our analysis with the services provided by the pinewood, olive grove, vineyard and orchard together (as well as other plants, but their contribution has not yet been taken into account): the CO2 sequestration.
All these plants capture c.ca 1.43 tonnes of CO2-eq per year.
Then, we compare this data with our family’s CO2 emissions in 2015, based on the assumption that 3 cars moved every day, each one travelling at least 10 km.
The final result is a negative balance (-0.54 tonnes CO2-eq).
It means that last year we produced approx. 500 kg CO2-eq more than our plants have been able to capture ☹. So, from this year we should adopt countermeasures, like carpooling or the use of bicycle, in order to reduce our impact until (at least) we reach the breakeven point.
We are just at the beginning of our path to sustainability, based on the ESS approach.
However one thing is clear to us: this is the right path! To both preserve a good environmental quality and, consequently, our wellbeing and that of our guests; and to preserve the Earth ecosystem that we share with many other species, and to respect the rights of future generation to their natural heritage.