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The legal aspects of Ecosystem Services in agricultural land pricing, some implications from a case study in Vietnam's Mekong Delta


  • Loc, Ho Huu
  • Irvine, Kim N.
  • Thi Hong Diep, Nguyen
  • Thi Kim Quyen, Nguyen
  • Tue, Nguyen Ngoc
  • Shimizu, Yoshihisa


Ecosystem economic valuation has been proposed as an appropriate approach to account for natural resources. More specifically, the tangible and intangible values of ecosystem services (ES) associated with specific land uses/land covers have been appreciated by practitioners both in academia and policy arenas as useful accounting means for land use management. This paper explored how the outcomes from ecosystem valuation studies could be utilized to improve the current agricultural land pricing system in Vietnam's Mekong Delta. By reviewing the relevant legal documents, we highlighted some limitations of the current land pricing system and suggested reforms utilizing ES valuation results. By comparing the results of ES evaluation study for the prawn-rice rotational crops (PRRC) areas with their regulated agricultural land prices, one major limitation of the current pricing method was identified, that being its inability to capture the actual land profitability resulting from the classification system of lands which currently typifies PRRC areas as annual crops, similar to rice and vegetables. However, to register a dedicated classification for PRRC can be time consuming and costly due to the complexity of the relevant legal framework. As a response, an ES-based index to account for the differences between PRRC and other cultivation systems without having to thoroughly reform the legal system was recommended. Our recommendation is essentially in harmony with the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Decree, which allows for the application of correction factors according to local conditions. As a methodological contribution, this attempt to include ES information in legal systems could facilitate the better standardization of core terminologies and practical guidelines, two of the most important challenges to the mainstreaming of the ES concept in decision making and policy planning.

Suggested Citation

  • Loc, Ho Huu & Irvine, Kim N. & Thi Hong Diep, Nguyen & Thi Kim Quyen, Nguyen & Tue, Nguyen Ngoc & Shimizu, Yoshihisa, 2018. "The legal aspects of Ecosystem Services in agricultural land pricing, some implications from a case study in Vietnam's Mekong Delta," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 29(PB), pages 360-369.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoser:v:29:y:2018:i:pb:p:360-369
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.11.019

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:eee:ecoser:v:1:y:2012:i:1:p:111-120 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Abson, D.J. & von Wehrden, H. & Baumgärtner, S. & Fischer, J. & Hanspach, J. & Härdtle, W. & Heinrichs, H. & Klein, A.M. & Lang, D.J. & Martens, P. & Walmsley, D., 2014. "Ecosystem services as a boundary object for sustainability," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 29-37.
    3. repec:eee:ecoser:v:18:y:2016:i:c:p:186-197 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:ecoser:v:5:y:2013:i:c:p:163-169 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:ecoser:v:16:y:2015:i:c:p:174-181 is not listed on IDEAS
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    1. repec:eee:ecoser:v:31:y:2018:i:pc:p:527-542 is not listed on IDEAS


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