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An operational structure for clarity in ecosystem service values

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  • Johnston, Robert J.
  • Russell, Marc

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Johnston, Robert J. & Russell, Marc, 2011. "An operational structure for clarity in ecosystem service values," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(12), pages 2243-2249.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:12:p:2243-2249
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.07.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Swallow, Stephen K., 2013. "Demand-side Value for Ecosystem Services and Implications for Innovative Markets: Experimental Perspectives on the Possibility of Private Markets for Public Goods," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(01), pages 33-56, April.
    3. Thiel, Andreas, 2014. "Developing an analytical framework for reconstructing the scalar reorganization of water governance as institutional change: The case of Southern Spain," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 378-391.
    4. Swallow, Stephen K. & Liu, Pengfei & Seabloom, Eric & Borer, Elizabeth, 2013. "A Simple Lesson in Economic Valuation: Do Scientists Value Expanding the Nutrient Network?," Working Papers 26, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.
    5. Patrick J. Walsh & J. Walter Milon, 2016. "Nutrient Standards, Water Quality Indicators, and Economic Benefits from Water Quality Regulations," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 64(4), pages 643-661, August.
    6. Maurice Doyon & Stéphane Bergeron & Jérôme Cimon-Morin & Monique Poulin, 2015. "Comptabilisation de la valeur économique des milieux humides en minganie," CIRANO Project Reports 2015rp-17, CIRANO.
    7. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:236-252 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Swallow, Stephen K. & Anderson, Christopher M. & Uchida, Emi, 2018. "The Bobolink Project: Selling Public Goods From Ecosystem Services Using Provision Point Mechanisms," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 236-252.
    9. Minjuan Zhao & Robert Johnston & Eric Schultz, 2013. "What to Value and How? Ecological Indicator Choices in Stated Preference Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 56(1), pages 3-25, September.
    10. Richardson, Leslie & Loomis, John & Kroeger, Timm & Casey, Frank, 2015. "The role of benefit transfer in ecosystem service valuation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 51-58.
    11. Nahlik, Amanda M. & Kentula, Mary E. & Fennessy, M. Siobhan & Landers, Dixon H., 2012. "Where is the consensus? A proposed foundation for moving ecosystem service concepts into practice," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 27-35.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Comello, Stephen D. & Maltais-Landry, Gabriel & Schwegler, Benedict R. & Lepech, Michael D., 2014. "Firm-level ecosystem service valuation using mechanistic biogeochemical modeling and functional substitutability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 63-73.
    15. Johnston, Robert J. & Schultz, Eric T. & Segerson, Kathleen & Besedin, Elena Y. & Ramachandran, Mahesh, 2013. "Stated Preferences for Intermediate versus Final Ecosystem Services: Disentangling Willingness to Pay for Omitted Outcomes," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(01), pages 98-118, April.
    16. Bauer, Dana Marie & Johnston, Robert J., 2013. "Foreword: The Economics of Rural and Agricultural Ecosystem Services: Purism versus Practicality," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(1), April.
    17. Hull, Steve & Dickie, Ian & Tinch, Rob & Saunders, Justine, 2014. "Issues and challenges in spatio-temporal application of an ecosystem services framework to UK seas," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 359-367.
    18. Kragt, Marit Ellen, 2013. "Evidence-based Research in Environmental Choice Experiments," Working Papers 153335, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    19. Perrings, Charles, 2014. "Environment and development economics 20 years on," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 19(03), pages 333-366, June.
    20. Danley, Brian & Widmark, Camilla, 2016. "Evaluating conceptual definitions of ecosystem services and their implications," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 132-138.

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