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Evaluation of Nature Conservation


  • D. Strijker
  • F. Sijtsma
  • D. Wiersma


Recent literature shows a lively debate on how tocapture ecological and environmental aspects indifferent evaluation methods and the closely relatedissue of the (im)possibilities of monetization ofthese aspects. Although economists in general tend tofavour Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) aboveMulti-Criteria Analysis (MCA), part of the literaturesuggests that CBA falls short of being the onlydecision-making device for environmental problems,both for theoretical and practical reasons. This paperdiscusses both evaluation methods and the main resultsof a major, publicly-financed nature conservationproject in The Netherlands. The evaluation method combines the straightforwardnessof CBA with the flexibility of MCA. Conceptually, itconsists of a MCA, the net result of a CBA beingintegrated as one of the criteria. The differentaspects of the nature conservation project that can bemonetized are incorporated into the CBA. Otheraspects such as changes in biodiversity or scenicbeauty are analysed in their own dimension,provided (cardinal) quantification is possible. Infact, the analysis consists of a very simple MCA, withtwo criteria: social costs and a quantitative measureof nature. Quantifying the amount of nature in its own,non-monetary dimension is a key element of theempirical analysis. A detailed quantitative estimateis made of the improvement of nature, based upon 564species and 131 different ecosystems. The result ofthe evaluation is a trade-off at the national levelbetween ecological improvements (plus 18 percent) andsocial costs (DFl. 3.4 billion net present value). Dueto the detailed quantification of the effect on naturethe evaluation also yields results about thecost-effectiveness of four different instruments tocreate and to preserve nature. That part of theanalysis shows that complete withdrawal ofagricultural land for nature purposes in the projectin general is more cost-effective than subsidizingnature-friendly farming, although the former is moreexpensive. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Suggested Citation

  • D. Strijker & F. Sijtsma & D. Wiersma, 2000. "Evaluation of Nature Conservation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 16(4), pages 363-378, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:16:y:2000:i:4:p:363-378
    DOI: 10.1023/A:1008344604392

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nick Hanley & Clive Spash & Lorna Walker, 1995. "Problems in valuing the benefits of biodiversity protection," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(3), pages 249-272, April.
    2. Nick Hanley, 1992. "Are there environmental limits to cost benefit analysis?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(1), pages 33-59, January.
    3. Van Pelt, M. & Kuyvenhoven, A. & Nijkamp, P., 1990. "Project Appraisal And Substainability: The Applicability Of Cost-Benefit And Multi-Criteria Analysis," Mansholt Working Papers 1990-5, Wageningen University, Mansholt Graduate School of Social Sciences.
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    Cited by:

    1. Iker Etxano & Eneko Garmendia & Unai Pascual & David Hoyos & María A. Díez & José A. Cadiñanos & Pedro J. Lozano, "undated". "Towards a Participatory Integrated Assessment Approach for Planning and Managing Natura 2000 Network Sites," Working Papers 2012-10, BC3.
    2. Cho, Seong-Hoon & Kim, Seung Gyu & Roberts, Roland K. & Jung, Suhyun, 2009. "Amenity values of spatial configurations of forest landscapes over space and time in the Southern Appalachian Highlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2646-2657, August.
    3. Hein, Lars & van Koppen, Kris & de Groot, Rudolf S. & van Ierland, Ekko C., 2006. "Spatial scales, stakeholders and the valuation of ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 209-228, May.


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