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Measuring Biodiversity – an axiomatic evaluation of measures based on genetic data

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  • Gerber, Nicolas

Abstract

Biodiversity measurement is necessary to evaluate conservation alternatives and understand how to maximize biodiversity returns on conservation budgets. In the economics literature, most studies focus on species level diversity. Existing measures based on species' pairwise genetic differences do not perform optimally. This paper develops two new biodiversity measures within the same genetic framework. An axiomatic diagnosis for this class of measures is proposed and four biodiversity measures are then compared. Though the axiomatic comparison points towards a single "best" measure, it also indicates that the choice of measure should be dependent on the conservation problem at hand.

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Paper provided by University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF) in its series Discussion Papers with number 51305.

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Date of creation: Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ags:ubzefd:51305

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Keywords: Biodiversity; Measurement; Axiomatic approach; Environmental Economics and Policy; Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

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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, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(3), pages 303-328, July.
  2. Brock,W. & Xepapadeas,A., 2001. "Valuing biodiversity from an economic perspective : a unified economic, ecological and genetic approach," Working papers, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems 17, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  3. Li, Chuan-Zhong & L Fgren, Karl-Gustaf, 1998. "A dynamic model of biodiversity preservation," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(02), pages 157-172, May.
  4. Eiswerth, Mark E. & Haney, J. Christopher, 2001. "Maximizing conserved biodiversity: why ecosystem indicators and thresholds matter," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 259-274, August.
  5. van der Heide, C. Martijn & van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M. & van Ierland, Ekko C., 2005. "Extending Weitzman's economic ranking of biodiversity protection: combining ecological and genetic considerations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 218-223, November.
  6. Klaus Nehring & Clemens Puppe, 2002. "A Theory of Diversity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1155-1198, May.
  7. Polasky Stephen & Solow Andrew R., 1995. "On the Value of a Collection of Species," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 298-303, November.
  8. Nehring, Klaus & Puppe, Clemens, 2004. "Modelling phylogenetic diversity," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 205-235, June.
  9. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "The Noah's Ark Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1279-1298, November.
  10. Drucker, Adam G. & Gomez, Veronica & Anderson, Simon, 2001. "The economic valuation of farm animal genetic resources: a survey of available methods," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 1-18, January.
  11. Eiswerth, Mark E. & Haney, J. Christopher, 1992. "Allocating conservation expenditures: accounting for inter-species genetic distinctiveness," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 235-249, June.
  12. Solow Andrew & Polasky Stephen & Broadus James, 1993. "On the Measurement of Biological Diversity," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 60-68, January.
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