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An operational structure for clarity in ecosystem service values

  • Johnston, Robert J.
  • Russell, Marc

Analyses used to value ecosystem services often confuse final ecosystem services with ecological functions that provide indirect benefit. Typologies of ecosystem services, such as that developed by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, do not ameliorate these challenges. Among the causes of ambiguity in classifying values associated with intermediate versus final ecosystem services are (1) the lack of simple, broadly applicable guidelines to assist natural and social scientists in deriving consistent and replicable classifications, and (2) attempts to define universal typologies of final services that apply to all beneficiaries. This paper presents an operational mechanism for determining whether a biophysical feature, quantity, or quality represents a final ecosystem service for an inclusive suite of beneficiaries. It is designed for straightforward application by those without expertise in natural or social sciences, and can be used within existing typologies. Illustrations of the structure demonstrate how the resulting classifications avert double counting and other ambiguities.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 70 (2011)
Issue (Month): 12 ()
Pages: 2243-2249

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:12:p:2243-2249
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.07.003
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. Bauer, Dana Marie & Sue Wing, Ian, 2010. "Economic Consequences of Pollinator Declines: A Synthesis," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 39(3), October.
  2. Wainger, Lisa A. & King, Dennis M. & Mack, Richard N. & Price, Elizabeth W. & Maslin, Thomas, 2010. "Can the concept of ecosystem services be practically applied to improve natural resource management decisions?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(5), pages 978-987, March.
  3. P. Joan Poor & Kevin J. Boyle & Laura O. Taylor & Roy Bouchard, 2001. "Objective versus Subjective Measures of Water Clarity in Hedonic Property Value Models," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(4), pages 482-493.
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  5. Boyd, James & Banzhaf, Spencer, 2007. "What are ecosystem services? The need for standardized environmental accounting units," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2-3), pages 616-626, August.
  6. de Groot, Rudolf S. & Wilson, Matthew A. & Boumans, Roelof M. J., 2002. "A typology for the classification, description and valuation of ecosystem functions, goods and services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 393-408, June.
  7. Johnston, Robert J. & Weaver, Thomas F. & Smith, Lynn A. & Swallow, Stephen K., 1995. "Contingent Valuation Focus Groups: Insights From Ethnographic Interview Techniques," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 24(1), April.
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  9. 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.
  10. Andrew Balmford & Brendan Fisher & Rhys Green & Robin Naidoo & Bernardo Strassburg & R. Kerry Turner & Ana Rodrigues, 2011. "Bringing Ecosystem Services into the Real World: An Operational Framework for Assessing the Economic Consequences of Losing Wild Nature," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 48(2), pages 161-175, February.
  11. Fisher, Brendan & Turner, R. Kerry & Morling, Paul, 2009. "Defining and classifying ecosystem services for decision making," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 643-653, January.
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  13. Limburg, Karin E. & Folke, Carl, 1999. "The ecology of ecosystem services: introduction to the special issue," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 179-182, May.
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