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To Value Functions or Services? An Analysis of Ecosystem Valuation Approaches

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  • Erik Ansink
  • Lars Hein
  • Knut Per Hasund

Abstract

Monetary valuation of ecosystem services is a widely used approach to quantify the benefits supplied by the natural environment to society. An alternative approach is the monetary valuation of ecosystem functions, which is defined as the capacity of the ecosystem to supply services. Using two European case-study areas, this paper explores the relative advantages of the two valuation approaches. This is done using a conceptual analysis, a qualitative application, and an overall comparison of both approaches. It is concluded that both approaches can be defended on theoretical grounds, and - if properly applied - will provide the same value estimates. However, valuation of ecosystem services is preferred from a practical point of view. Because there is no one-to-one match between functions and services, researchers should be consistent in their valuation approach. To avoid overlooking or overlapping of values, valuation should either be solely based on functions, or solely based on services.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by White Horse Press in its journal Environmental Values.

Volume (Year): 17 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 489-503

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Handle: RePEc:env:journl:ev17:ev1726

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Related research

Keywords: Environmental valuation; ecosystem functions; ecosystem services;

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References

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  1. Costanza, Robert & d'Arge, Ralph & de Groot, Rudolf & Farber, Stephen & Grasso, Monica & Hannon, Bruce & Limburg, Karin & Naeem, Shahid & O'Neill, Robert V. & Paruelo, Jose, 1998. "The value of ecosystem services: putting the issues in perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 67-72, April.
  2. Drepper, Friedhelm R. & Mansson, Bengt A., 1993. "Intertemporal valuation in an unpredictable environment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 43-67, February.
  3. Barbier, Edward B., 2000. "Valuing the environment as input: review of applications to mangrove-fishery linkages," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 47-61, October.
  4. Hein, Lars & van Koppen, Kris & de Groot, Rudolf S. & van Ierland, Ekko C., 2006. "Spatial scales, stakeholders and the valuation of ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 209-228, May.
  5. Ing-Marie Gren & Carl Folke & Kerry Turner & Ian Batemen, 1994. "Primary and secondary values of wetland ecosystems," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 4(1), pages 55-74, February.
  6. Turner, R. Kerry & Paavola, Jouni & Cooper, Philip & Farber, Stephen & Jessamy, Valma & Georgiou, Stavros, 2003. "Valuing nature: lessons learned and future research directions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 493-510, October.
  7. Turner, R. Kerry & van den Bergh, Jeroen C. J. M. & Soderqvist, Tore & Barendregt, Aat & van der Straaten, Jan & Maltby, Edward & van Ierland, Ekko C., 2000. "Ecological-economic analysis of wetlands: scientific integration for management and policy," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 7-23, October.
  8. Turner, R. K. & Adger, W. N. & Brouwer, R., 1998. "Ecosystem services value, research needs, and policy relevance: a commentary," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 61-65, April.
  9. 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.
  10. Straton, Anna, 2006. "A complex systems approach to the value of ecological resources," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 402-411, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Edens, Bram & Hein, Lars, 2013. "Towards a consistent approach for ecosystem accounting," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 41-52.
  2. Ali Douai, 2009. "Value Theory in Ecological Economics: The Contribution of a Political Economy of Wealth," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 18(3), pages 257-284, August.
  3. Dianne McGrath, 2011. "Accounting for the Environment: Towards a Theoretical Perspective for Environmental Accounting and Reporting," Social and Environmental Accountability Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(2), pages 169-170, September.
  4. Shonil A. Bhagwat, 2009. "Ecosystem Services and Sacred Natural Sites: Reconciling Material and Non-material Values in Nature Conservation," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 18(4), pages 417-427, November.

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