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The role and value of water in natural capital restoration on the Agulhas Plain


  • Helanya Fourie

    () (Macro and Resource Economics, Western Cape Department of Agriculture)

  • Martin de Wit

    () (School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch)

  • Albert van der Merwe

    () (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)


The Agulhas Plain is a low-lying coastal area within the Cape Floristic Region classified as one of the six plant kingdoms of the world. The area is heavily invaded by alien vegetation that infringes upon the sustainable supply of ecosystem goods and services provided by the native fynbos vegetation. Natural capital restoration is expected to recover the supply of ecosystem goods and services, and in particular to increase the amount of water available for consumption. The study conducts cost-benefit analyses to assess whether alien clearing and restoration would add value to the Agulhas Plain. The analyses indicate that the cost of alien clearing and restoration in the area cannot be justified if the additional water released holds no benefit to the Plain. A brief assessment shows that the actual average value of water on the Agulhas Plain, as estimated by other studies, is higher than the economic cost of making the water available through alien clearing and restoration. Thus this would make alien clearing and restoration economically justified.

Suggested Citation

  • Helanya Fourie & Martin de Wit & Albert van der Merwe, 2011. "The role and value of water in natural capital restoration on the Agulhas Plain," Working Papers 03/2011, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers131

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    More about this item


    Cost-benefit analysis; Invasive vegetation; Natural capital restoration; Water;

    JEL classification:

    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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