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The Economics of Biodiversity

In: Handbook of Environmental Economics

Contents:

Author Info

  • Polasky, Stephen
  • Costello, Christopher
  • Solow, Andrew

Abstract

The conservation of biodiversity is a major environmental issue, one that promises to remain at or near the top of the environmental agenda for the foreseeable future. The loss of biodiversity affects human welfare as well as being lamentable for its own sake. Humans depend on natural systems to produce a wide variety of ecosystem goods and services, ranging from direct use of certain species for food or medicines to ecosystem functions that provide water purification, nutrient retention or climate regulation. Threats to biodiversity include habitat loss and fragmentation, the introduction of nonindigenous species, over-harvesting, pollution, changes in geochemical cycles and climate change. Sustaining biodiversity in the face of increasing human populations and increased human economic activity promises to be a major challenge. Economists have an important role to play in helping to develop and evaluate conservation strategies. Because biodiversity is at risk in large part because of human activity, finding ways to conserve biodiversity will come from better understanding and management of human affairs, not from better biology alone. Economists can help set priorities to allocate scarce conservation resources where they will do the most good. Economists can help design incentive schemes to make conservation policy both effective and efficient. Economic methods can shed light on what are the most valuable components of biodiversity, including analysis of species existence value, the value of bioprospecting and the value of ecosystem services.

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This chapter was published in:

  • K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), 2005. "Handbook of Environmental Economics," Handbook of Environmental Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3, June.
    This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Environmental Economics with number 3-29.

    Handle: RePEc:eee:envchp:3-29

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

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    Cited by:
    1. Joël Houdet & Michel Trommetter & Jacques Weber, 2009. "Changing business perceptions regarding biodiversity: from impact mitigation towards new strategies and practices," Working Papers hal-00412875, HAL.
    2. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung & Conseil d'‘Analyse � (ed.), 2010. "Wirtschaftsleistung, Lebensqualität und Nachhaltigkeit: Ein umfassendes Indikatorensystem. Expertise im Auftrag des Deutsch-Französischen Ministerrates," Occasional Reports / Expertisen, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, number 75370.
    3. Vincent, Jeffrey R., 2012. "Ecosystem services and green growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6233, The World Bank.
    4. Jean-Michel Salles, 2011. "Valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services: why linking economic values with Nature?," Working Papers 11-24, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Dec 2011.
    5. Hamilton. Kirk, 2013. "Biodiversity and national accounting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6441, The World Bank.
    6. Sonja S. Teelucksingh & Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, 2010. "Biodiversity Valuation in Developing Countries: A Focus on Small Island Developing States (SIDS)," Working Papers 2010.111, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. R. Simpson, 2007. "David Pearce and the economic valuation of biodiversity," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 37(1), pages 91-109, May.
    8. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung & Conseil d'‘Analyse � (ed.), 2010. "Monitoring economic performance, quality of life and sustainability. Joint report as requested by the Franco-German Ministerial Council," Occasional Reports / Expertisen, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, number 75366.
    9. Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der Gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung & Conseil d'‘Analyse � (ed.), 2010. "Evaluer la performance économique, le bien-être et la soutenabilité. Rapport du Conseil d’analyse économique et du Conseil allemand des experts en économie," Occasional Reports / Expertisen, German Council of Economic Experts / Sachverständigenrat zur Begutachtung der gesamtwirtschaftlichen Entwicklung, number 75369.

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