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Capturing the complexity of biodiversity: A critical review of economic valuation studies of biological diversity

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  • Bartkowski, Bartosz
  • Lienhoop, Nele
  • Hansjürgens, Bernd

Abstract

Biodiversity is a highly complex and abstract ecological concept. Even though it is not one physical entity, it influences human well-being in multiple ways, mostly indirectly. While considerable research effort has been spent on the economic valuation of biodiversity, it remains to be a particularly challenging ‘valuation object’. Valuation practitioners therefore have to use proxies for biodiversity, many of which are very simple (single species, habitats). This paper presents a comprehensive and critical review of biodiversity valuation studies with special emphasis on biodiversity valuation in order to depict the state-of-the-art in this research field. It develops evaluation criteria so as to identify best-practice applications and shows that the field of biodiversity valuation studies is rather heterogeneous regarding both valuation objects and valuation methods. On the basis of our evaluation criteria and best-practice studies we suggest that to account for the complexity and abstractness of biodiversity, multi-attribute approaches with encompassing information provision should be used that emphasise the roles biodiversity plays for human well-being.

Suggested Citation

  • Bartkowski, Bartosz & Lienhoop, Nele & Hansjürgens, Bernd, 2015. "Capturing the complexity of biodiversity: A critical review of economic valuation studies of biological diversity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:113:y:2015:i:c:p:1-14
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.02.023
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    Cited by:

    1. Bartkowski, Bartosz, 2016. "Are diverse ecosystems more valuable? A conceptual framework of the economic value of biodiversity," 90th Annual Conference, April 4-6, 2016, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 236293, Agricultural Economics Society.
    2. Bartkowski, Bartosz, 2016. "Are diverse ecosystems more valuable? A conceptual framework for economic valuation of biodiversity," UFZ Discussion Papers 9/2016, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS).
    3. Farnsworth, K.D. & Adenuga, A.H. & de Groot, R.S., 2015. "The complexity of biodiversity: A biological perspective on economic valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 350-354.
    4. repec:eee:ecolec:v:138:y:2017:i:c:p:168-177 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Michael Getzner & Barbara Färber & Claudia Yamu, 2016. "2D Versus 3D: The Relevance of the Mode of Presentation for the Economic Valuation of an Alpine Landscape," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(6), pages 1-16, June.
    6. repec:eee:foreco:v:29:y:2017:i:pa:p:62-67 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:ecolec:v:153:y:2018:i:c:p:181-194 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Daniels, Silvie & Witters, Nele & Beliën, Tim & Vrancken, Kristof & Vangronsveld, Jaco & Van Passel, Steven, 2017. "Monetary Valuation of Natural Predators for Biological Pest Control in Pear Production," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 160-173.
    9. Meinard, Yves & Remy, Alice & Schmid, Bernhard, 2017. "Measuring Impartial Preference for Biodiversity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 45-54.
    10. Flores Tenorio, Pedro, 2017. "A choice modelling experiment to explore the opportunities to invest in biodiversity conservation in the Amazon," 2017 Conference (61st), February 7-10, 2017, Brisbane, Australia 258666, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    11. repec:eee:ecoser:v:24:y:2017:i:c:p:50-57 is not listed on IDEAS

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