Evaluating Nature Conservation: The Case of Meadow Birds in The Netherlands
Healthy growth towards sustainability requires evaluation methods that incorporate ecological and economic effects. Evaluating ecological effects in monetary terms would permit the use of Cost-Benefit Analysis. Major methodological difficulties hamper use of this approach. In this paper an alternative evaluation method is used. The method consists of a Multicriteria Analysis (MCA), in which the different aspects of nature conservation projects can be evaluated in their own terms. The net result of the monetarised effects is part of a CBA that is integrated as one of the criteria. This framework is applied to a major, publicly financed nature conservation project in the Netherlands. The project is based on a fixed budget and a fixed area in which nature can be produced using different methods. In this project, apart from analysing the net results, besides the net results of a CBA, only one other criterion is analysed: the production of nature. In this way, the concept is reduced to a straightforward analysis of the performance (cost-effectiveness) of the different methods used to produce natural environment.
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