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Pricing Nature


  • Edward B. Barbier

    () (Department of Economics and Finance, College of Business, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071)


The growing literature on ecosystem services suggests that these benefits are the direct or indirect contributions that ecosystems make to the well-being of human populations. Although the approach to valuing ecosystem services seems straightforward, in practice there are a number of challenges. The majority of ecosystem services are not marketed, and it is often difficult to determine how changes in ecosystem structure, functions, and processes influence the quantities and qualities of ecosystem service flows to people. Only when these difficulties are overcome is it possible to use existing valuation methods to assess the impact on human well-being that results from a change in ecosystem services. The example of wetland ecosystems and case studies from developing economies, the United States, and Europe are discussed to illustrate these issues involved in pricing nature.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward B. Barbier, 2011. "Pricing Nature," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 337-353, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:3:y:2011:p:337-353

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    Cited by:

    1. A. Ruijs & M. Kortelainen & A. Wossink & C.J.E. Schulp & R. Alkemade & Paul Madden, 2012. "Opportunity cost estimation of ecosystem services," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 1222, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    2. Min Gong & Geoffrey Heal, 2014. "Why do People Care about Sea Lions? A Fishing Game to Study the Value of Endangered Species," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 59(4), pages 503-523, December.
    3. Kirui, Oliver K. & Mirzabaev, Alisher, 2016. "Cost of land degradation and improvement in Eastern Africa," 2016 Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 249321, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).

    More about this item


    ecological function; ecosystem services; nonmarket value; valuation; wetlands;

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics


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