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Valuing ecosystem services on the basis of service-providing units: A potential approach to address the 'endpoint problem' and improve stated preference methods

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  • Kontogianni, Areti
  • Luck, Gary W.
  • Skourtos, Michalis

Abstract

Standardized methods are required to measure ecosystem services in order to value them. In this paper, we argue that the service-providing unit (SPU) concept may help achieve this objective by promoting the systematic quantification of the key components of nature that provide services (e.g., population density of a key pollinator) and linking these with measurable outcomes for human well-being. We discuss and provide examples of the potential role of the SPU concept in improving economic valuation of ecosystem services. Further, we suggest the concept may contribute to addressing the endpoint problem, which can be defined simply as the inability of researchers to communicate the implications of environmental change in a way that is understood by a broad cross-section of society. The endpoint problem is of particular relevance to stated preference approaches, and we discuss the capacity of the SPU concept to refine these approaches. We argue that the concept enhances interdisciplinary collaboration, promoting more validated, well-informed valuation applications. It also has the potential to minimize 'warm glow effects' and put the notion of marginal changes in the provision of ecosystem services in a new light.

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  • Kontogianni, Areti & Luck, Gary W. & Skourtos, Michalis, 2010. "Valuing ecosystem services on the basis of service-providing units: A potential approach to address the 'endpoint problem' and improve stated preference methods," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(7), pages 1479-1487, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:7:p:1479-1487
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    4. Johnston, Robert J. & Segerson, Kathleen & Schultz, Eric T. & Besedin, Elena Y. & Ramachandran, Mahesh, 2011. "Indices of biotic integrity in stated preference valuation of aquatic ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(11), pages 1946-1956, September.
    5. H. Spencer Banzhaf & James Boyd, 2012. "The Architecture and Measurement of an Ecosystem Services Index," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-32, March.
    6. M. Skourtos & D. Damigos & D. Tsitakis & A. Kontogianni & C. Tourkolias & N. Streftaris, 2015. "In Search of Marine Ecosystem Services Values: The V-MESSES Database," Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management (JEAPM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 17(04), pages 1-27, December.
    7. Sagoff, Mark, 2011. "The quantification and valuation of ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 497-502, January.
    8. Mateo Cordier & José Pérez Agúndez & Walter Hecq & Bertrand Hamaide, 2013. "A guiding framework for ecosystem services monetization in ecological-economic modeling," Working Papers CEB 13-018, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    9. Pulselli, Federico M. & Coscieme, Luca & Bastianoni, Simone, 2011. "Ecosystem services as a counterpart of emergy flows to ecosystems," Ecological Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 222(16), pages 2924-2928.
    10. Meijaard, Erik & Wunder, Sven & Guariguata, Manuel R. & Sheil, Douglas, 2014. "What scope for certifying forest ecosystem services?," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 160-166.
    11. Dias, Vitor & Belcher, Ken, 2015. "Value and provision of ecosystem services from prairie wetlands: A choice experiment approach," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 35-44.
    12. Rodríguez-Entrena, Macario & Espinosa-Goded, María & Barreiro-Hurlé, Jesús, 2014. "The role of ancillary benefits on the value of agricultural soils carbon sequestration programmes: Evidence from a latent class approach to Andalusian olive groves," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 63-73.
    13. Guignet, Dennis, 2012. "The impacts of pollution and exposure pathways on home values: A stated preference analysis," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 53-63.
    14. Schmidt, Stefan & Seppelt, Ralf, 2018. "Information content of global ecosystem service databases and their suitability for decision advice," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 32(PA), pages 22-40.
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    16. Patrick POINT, 2012. "Valuation of wetland ecosystems services. Some methodological principles (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2012-19, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).

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