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Valuation of Ecosystem Services Provided by Biodiversity Conservation: An Integrated Hydrological and Economic Model to Value the Enhanced Nitrogen Retention in Renaturated Streams

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  • Ingo Bräuer

    (Department of Agricultural Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics Research Unit, Georg-August University)

  • Rainer Marggraf

    (Department of Agricultural Economics, Environmental and Resource Economics Research Unit, Georg-August University)

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    Abstract

    The importance of ecosystem functions for humankind is well known. But only few attempts have been undertaken to estimate the economic value of these ecosystem services. In particular, indirect methods are rarely used, even though they are most suitable for the task. This discrepancy is because quantitative knowledge of changes in ecosystem functions is scarce. This paper presents a user-friendly procedure to quantify the increased N-retention in a renaturated river using easily available data. In a case study of the renaturated River Jossa (Germany) the benefits of increased nitrogen retention caused by beaver reintroduction are determined by using the replacement cost method. The quantification of chemical processes is discussed in detail, as well as the problems of defining an adequate reference scenario for the substitute costs. Results show that economic benefits from the evaluated ecosystem service (€12,000/annum) equal 12% of the total costs of the corresponding conservation scheme.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2004.54.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2004.54

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    Related research

    Keywords: Biodiversity conservation programmes; Cost-benefit-analysis; Replacement cost method; Ecosystem services; Nutrient retention;

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    1. Bystrom, Olof, 1998. "The nitrogen abatement cost in wetlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 321-331, September.
    2. Gren, Ing-Marie, 1995. "The Value of Investing in Wetlands for Nitrogen Abatement," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 22(2), pages 157-72.
    3. Brouwer, Roy & Slangen, Louis H G, 1998. "Contingent Valuation of the Public Benefits of Agricultural Wildlife Management: The Case of Dutch Peat Meadow Land," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 25(1), pages 53-72.
    4. Olof Byström, 2000. "The Replacement Value of Wetlands in Sweden," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(4), pages 347-362, August.
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