Valuation of ecosystem services is gaining attention in the international discourse. It is considered a promising approach to advance mainstreaming of the value of ecosystems into business, public decision-making and planning. It is against this background that the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) has been set up in 2011, with the aim of creating awareness about the costs of land degradation and the benefits of sustainable land management (SLM).

Assessments undertaken by the ELD Initiative across the world found that there is a lack of

  • capacity in the use of environmental valuation techniques,
  • economic information on the costs and benefits of action to address land degradation issues.

Tools, methods and training materials developed by the ELD Initiative are suggested to be able to play a key role in helping to fill these capacity gaps.


1. to create awareness regarding the rationale behind economic valuation of ecosystem services;
2. to provide an understanding of how economic valuation is done and how the information can be used in policy-making and planning regarding land use and
- for those who want to become practitioners or who want to integrate the know-how into training curricula -:
3. to provide in-depth methodological guidance on how to apply the ELD approach.

Target audiences

Government employees on different levels (national, regional, local) and functions
(policy, technical);

  • Researchers and academics (e.g. research institutions and universities);
  • Non-governmental organisations and development programmes,
  • Private sector managers and staff, as well as
  • Advisors and consultants.



Overview of the modules and options for use

Option 1: Introduction

The three modules under this topic provide a general overview of the ‘ELD Initiative‘, ‘Land degradation vs sustainable land management‘ as well as ‘Natural Capital and ecosystem services valuation‘.

This is essential know-how for all target groups.

Option 2: ELD studies and outreach

‘Steps of an ELD study‘ and ‘Communication, outreach and policy impact‘ provide users with a basic understanding of the ELD approach – economic valuation – and how the information generated can be best communicated and used for decision-making and planning.

This is also essential know-how for all target groups.

Option 3: ELD methodological approach

The modules under this topic provide detailed methodological know-how in ‘Identification and selection of ecosystem services’, ‘Evaluation of ecosystem services’ and ‘Cost-benefit analysis’.

Developed for users who want to gain an in-depth understanding of the ELD methodological approach.

Option 4: Apply the ELD approach on your own!

This module contains a fictitious case study example for practical learning. It helps the user to actually apply the ELD approach. All other modules can be linked to this and additionally support the application of the approach. 

Developed for users who want to gain an in-depth understanding of the ELD methodological approach through practical learning.