When using biodiversity as a main theme in one of the food forest areas, value is considered very differently than the usual economic-only focus. Nonetheless, those who invest in biodiversity will undoubtedly create value: that of natural value. Presumably, this natural value will also be unique to each forest system. The route to unique natural value in a food forest is through the introduction of the richest possible range of plant species which strengthen ecological succession’s force, and possibly one or more forms of soil treatment. What is still unsure, however, is a direct reflection of monetary income from natural value in the current economic context. However, nature entrepreneurs can generate derived economic value, such as through the provision of paid tours to visitors, or of additional services, such as types of hospitality. A modest source of income could also be the small-scale sale of food products to a ‘self-picking’ public.
Higher biodiversity can also be expected to generate additional economic value for agricultural producers in the immediate vicinity, for beekeepers, and for managing parties such as water boards or drinking-water companies. The direct financial remuneration for ecosystem services, such as pest prevention, water purification, as well as water storage, is developing cautiously. However, the enrichment of existing forest and natural areas generates new knowledge that will be of value elsewhere through wider dissemination and exchange. However, without creative, integral and innovative arrangements, direct income from the biodiversity-creating sector cannot be expected.
For the time being, the choices to increase local biodiversity through food forestry seem to be primarily investments in the future, and forms of goodwill from society. This means that the initiator can take the freedom to focus on specific categories of natural values or certain qualities of biodiversity, and in the meantime generate additional income such as from visits and small-scale sales.
We have simplified the data and information for the Welna estate, and added an economic cautionary measure by skimming off 25% of the costs and benefits for the two themes where a lot of harvesting takes place.
We then built a tool with which you, in your own environment, can make a nice customised business report that can serve as a conversation-starter for your supporters, family, investors, etc.
Keep in mind that this is just the beginning, and the plant list consists of plants that do well on the Welna estate’s sandy soil. We also base our models on assumptions, but every year there will be more real data from food forests and from all of you as participants calculating with us. So, help us make this matter more and more beautiful, together. Have fun!