The county government of Isiolo, Kenya, faces a significant challenge – to maximise the value of local services, including those already provided by the ecosystem under conditions of increasing climate variability and change. This report describes a research approach to support this endeavour, exploring the development of a generic profile of the current ecosystem service values in the county economy through a framework for total economic valuation (TEV). Our approach differs from previous TEV studies conducted in the region because we give greater consideration to service values achieved per cubic metre of water. The availability of water is sensitive to climatic variations, which affect its spatial and temporal distribution. Many other essential services in Arid and Semi Arid (ASAL) environments are also dependent on climate and water availability.

Our research focuses on compiling and synthesing ‘direct use values’ associated with the main climate-dependent provisioning services – water, energy, fibres and foods – for the year 2013–14. Based on consultation with partners in Isiolo County and a series of research activities that took place over 2012–2015, we explore the flows of these services and a range of market and non-market values that can be associated with them. In this assessment, we estimate the direct use value of a cubic metre of water for domestic uses at US$0-17 (market value) or around US$90 (non-market value), whereas the same volume used for livestock water provisioning would generate a direct use value of US$13–22 (market value of meat offtake and milk production). But in case of direct use for irrigated agriculture and tourism, the values that we could identify per cubic metre of water were US$0-4 (market value). Those for water used in tourism enterprises were even less.

Overall, in this study we identify climate-dependent ecosystem service values produced during 2013-14 that were worth almost a quarter of a billion US$ per year to the county. However, this total includes values that some may consider controversial or overlapping, and we acknowledge that our assessment of the services and their values was still very far from exhaustive. To improve the assessment and management of ecosystem service ow volumes and values, we recommend that the county government enhance its systems for mapping and monitoring them. Since many of these flows and values are sensitive to seasonal and inter-annual variations in climate, it would also be desirable to quantify the extent of this sensitivity.

Through the TEV framework, we can further supplement the assessment of direct use values by considering other indirect use, option and non-use values. A discussion of the possible effects of these value types highlights that, where services such as water, firewood and grazing resources are over-extracted, we must weigh the positive direct use 7 Direct use values of climate dependent ecosystem services in isiolo county value against the negative (indirect) loss of ecosystem value to society. The spatial and temporal context in which the direct uses occur determines the extent to which they will be affected by these indirect values. Option values are related to direct use values, and also heavily depend on spatial and temporal context.

Although areas for further research and data collection remain, we conclude that the assessment framework is ready enough to explore a practical test-case application in Isiolo County. Under the current County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) 2013-7, a series of investments have been made and could be evaluated. However, it is also worth noting that the effects of any given investment decision might be anticipated to accrue over a timeframe e.g. of at least 10 years. The pro le of direct use values over a single year that we have developed so far could be extended to explore longer-term decision scenarios that could take into account the likely effects of climate change and variability. An iterative process involving stakeholders and allowing space for debate would enable public review and progressive renement of the framework and assessment of direct use patterns and values identified through this research.

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