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More than total economic value: How to combine economic valuation of biodiversity with ecological resilience

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  • Admiraal, Jeroen F.
  • Wossink, Ada
  • de Groot, Wouter T.
  • de Snoo, Geert R.

Abstract

The assessment of total economic value has become a pragmatic and popular approach in nature valuation, yet criticisms have been raised. One major point of critique is that total economic value bases the monetary value of ecosystems purely on the flow of human benefits of services of ecosystems and consequently ignores questions of sustainable use of natural capital per se. This paper explains why total economic value by itself is in principle an inadequate concept to guide sustainable use of ecosystems and gives an overview of essential ecological theory that needs to be taken into account in addition to total economic value to fully include ecosystem sustainability. The paper concludes with a framework for combining ecological theory with economic valuation. The key elements here are theoretical ecological insights about ecosystem resilience and portfolio theory which offers an economic perspective on investment in biodiversity. Portfolio theory puts total economic value in a framework where investment in biodiversity is expanded to cover functional diversity and mobile link species in order to maintain ecosystem resilience and so fosters sustainable use of ecosystems.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 89 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 115-122

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:89:y:2013:i:c:p:115-122

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

Related research

Keywords: Total economic value; Biodiversity; Ecosystem services; Ecosystem functioning; Functional diversity; Ecosystem resilience; Insurance value; Portfolio theory;

References

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  1. Oliver Fromm, 2000. "Ecological Structure and Functions of Biodiversity as Elements of Its Total Economic Value," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(3), pages 303-328, July.
  2. Ian Bateman & Georgina Mace & Carlo Fezzi & Giles Atkinson & Kerry Turner, 2011. "Economic Analysis for Ecosystem Service Assessments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(2), pages 177-218, February.
  3. Weitzman, Martin L., 2000. "Economic Profitability Versus Ecological Entropy," Scholarly Articles 3693703, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. H. Spencer Banzhaf & James Boyd, 2012. "The Architecture and Measurement of an Ecosystem Services Index," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 430-461, March.
  5. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
  6. Brian Walker & Leonie Pearson & Michael Harris & Karl-Göran Maler & Chuan-Zhong Li & Reinette Biggs & Tim Baynes, 2010. "Incorporating Resilience in the Assessment of Inclusive Wealth: An Example from South East Australia," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(2), pages 183-202, February.
  7. Farber, Stephen C. & Costanza, Robert & Wilson, Matthew A., 2002. "Economic and ecological concepts for valuing ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 375-392, June.
  8. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, 03.
  9. Felix Schläpfer & Michael Tucker & Irmi Seidl, 2002. "Returns from Hay Cultivation in Fertilized Low Diversity and Non-Fertilized High Diversity Grassland," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 21(1), pages 89-100, January.
  10. Nunes, Paulo A. L. D. & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M., 2001. "Economic valuation of biodiversity: sense or nonsense?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 203-222, November.
  11. Common, Mick & Perrings, Charles, 1992. "Towards an ecological economics of sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 7-34, July.
  12. Eppink, Florian V. & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M., 2007. "Ecological theories and indicators in economic models of biodiversity loss and conservation: A critical review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2-3), pages 284-293, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Valentinov, Vladislav, 2014. "K. William Kapp's theory of social costs: A Luhmannian interpretation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 28-33.

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