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Recent advances in the valuation of ecosystem services and biodiversity


  • Giles Atkinson
  • Ian Bateman
  • Susana Mourato


Recent interest in the economics of biodiversity and wider ecosystem services has been given empirical expression through a focus upon economic valuation. This emphasis has been prompted by a growing recognition that the benefits and opportunity costs associated with such services are frequently given cursory consideration in policy analyses or even completely ignored. The valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services is therefore increasingly seen as a crucial element of robust decision making and this has been reflected in a growing body of related research. We provide a critical review of some of this research, considering the valuation methods applied to date and focussing upon their limitations in respect to certain categories of ecosystem services (particularly cultural services) and the applicability of the extant literature to new settings. Substantial questions also remain at the interface of natural science and economics and we consider the potential contribution of the conceptualization of ecosystems as assets as a response to this challenge. As part of this review we also highlight the role which large scale ‘ecosystem assessments’ have played as an impetus to extending the valuation evidence base and the way in which frameworks and assessments of how ecosystems contribute to human wellbeing might be translated into policy thinking and decision analyses. Copyright 2012, Oxford University Press.

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  • Giles Atkinson & Ian Bateman & Susana Mourato, 2012. "Recent advances in the valuation of ecosystem services and biodiversity," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 22-47, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:28:y:2012:i:1:p:22-47

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    1. Bartkowski, Bartosz, 2016. "Are diverse ecosystems more valuable? A conceptual framework of the economic value of biodiversity," 90th Annual Conference, April 4-6, 2016, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 236293, Agricultural Economics Society.
    2. Bartkowski, Bartosz & Lienhoop, Nele & Hansjürgens, Bernd, 2015. "Capturing the complexity of biodiversity: A critical review of economic valuation studies of biological diversity," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 1-14.
    3. repec:eee:ecolec:v:139:y:2017:i:c:p:140-149 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Baker, Rick & Ruting, Brad, 2014. "Environmental Policy Analysis: A Guide to Non‑Market Valuation," 2014 Conference (58th), February 4-7, 2014, Port Maquarie, Australia 165810, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    5. Zanoli, Raffaele & Carlesi, Lorenzo & Danovaro, Roberto & Mandolesi, Serena & Naspetti, Simona, 2015. "Valuing unfamiliar Mediterranean deep-sea ecosystems using visual Q-methodology," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 227-236.
    6. Ray Ison & Monica Shelley & Martin J. Bunch, 2016. "Ecosystem Approaches to Health and Well-Being: Navigating Complexity, Promoting Health in Social–Ecological Systems," Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(5), pages 614-632, September.
    7. Cranford, Matthew & Mourato, Susana, 2014. "Credit-Based Payments for Ecosystem Services: Evidence from a Choice Experiment in Ecuador," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 503-520.
    8. Valatin, Gregory & Moseley, Darren & Dandy, Norman, 2016. "Insights from behavioural economics for forest economics and environmental policy: Potential nudges to encourage woodland creation for climate change mitigation and adaptation?," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 27-36.
    9. repec:wsi:wepxxx:v:03:y:2017:i:02:n:s2382624x17020027 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Scholte, Samantha S.K. & van Teeffelen, Astrid J.A. & Verburg, Peter H., 2015. "Integrating socio-cultural perspectives into ecosystem service valuation: A review of concepts and methods," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 67-78.

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