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Sustainability and the value of the 'regulating' services: Wetlands and water quality in Lake Victoria


  • Simonit, Silvio
  • Perrings, Charles


The regulating services provided by ecosystems are amongst the most important for the sustainability of resource use, and yet they are also amongst the least understood. This paper considers one set of regulating mechanisms - the buffering functions of wetlands - and considers the information needed to identify both the value of the services offered by wetlands, and their substitutes. Using data from a catchment discharging water and nutrients to the Kenyan segment of Lake Victoria, the Yala catchment, the paper models the interactions between agriculture and fisheries as mediated by wetlands at the lake margin. More particularly, it estimates the value of the forgone nutrient retention function involved in the conversion of the wetland to agriculture, and the scope for providing the same services through land use change elsewhere in the catchment. The total cost of the payments that would compensate farmers for on-farm nutrient buffering services is 3.86Â M US$Â year-Â 1, or 35% of the total gains from wetland conversion to crop production. This finding contributes to an understanding of both the value of regulating services and how they might most effectively be delivered in alternative ways.

Suggested Citation

  • Simonit, Silvio & Perrings, Charles, 2011. "Sustainability and the value of the 'regulating' services: Wetlands and water quality in Lake Victoria," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(6), pages 1189-1199, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:6:p:1189-1199

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Engel, Stefanie & Pagiola, Stefano & Wunder, Sven, 2008. "Designing payments for environmental services in theory and practice: An overview of the issues," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(4), pages 663-674, May.
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    3. Edward B. Barbier, 2007. "Valuing ecosystem services as productive inputs," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 22, pages 177-229, January.
    4. Bulte, Erwin H. & Lipper, Leslie & Stringer, Randy & Zilberman, David, 2008. "Payments for ecosystem services and poverty reduction: concepts, issues, and empirical perspectives," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(03), pages 245-254, June.
    5. Avila-Foucat, V.S. & Perrings, C. & Raffaelli, D., 2009. "An ecological-economic model for catchment management: The case of Tonameca, Oaxaca, México," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(8-9), pages 2224-2231, June.
    6. Lufafa, A. & Tenywa, M. M. & Isabirye, M. & Majaliwa, M. J. G. & Woomer, P. L., 2003. "Prediction of soil erosion in a Lake Victoria basin catchment using a GIS-based Universal Soil Loss model," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 883-894, June.
    7. Lynne, Gary D. & Conroy, Patricia & Prochaska, Frederick J., 1981. "Economic valuation of marsh areas for marine production processes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 175-186, June.
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    10. Bystrom, Olof, 1998. "The nitrogen abatement cost in wetlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 321-331, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sébastien Foudi, 2012. "Exploitation of soil biota ecosystem services in agriculture: a bioeconomic approach," Working Papers 2012-02, BC3.
    2. Natacha Fauvet & Jean-Christophe Pereau, 2014. "Nutrient Allowances Market and Wetland Abatement," Working Papers 2014.06, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    3. Chatzinikolaou, Parthena & Raggi, Meri & Viaggi, Davide, 0. "The evaluation of Ecosystem Services production: an application in the Province of Ferrara," Bio-based and Applied Economics Journal, Italian Association of Agricultural and Applied Economics (AIEAA), issue 3.
    4. repec:eee:ecomod:v:282:y:2014:i:c:p:69-82 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Jan Philipp Schägner & Luke Brander & Joachim Maes & Volkmar Hartje, 2012. "Mapping Ecosystem Services’ Values: Current Practice and Future Prospects," Working Papers 2012.59, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.


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