Managing Ecosystem Services for Human Benefit: Economic and Environmental Policy Challenges
In the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), ecologists identified and pointed out a multitude of environmental and other benefits obtained by human-beings from ecosystem services. Frequently, these benefits are not fully recognized and they are not adequately taken into account in decision-making in contemporary economic and political systems for reasons outlined in this contribution. In particular, this adversely affects the optimal conservation of natural, near natural and unmanaged ecosystems. The human benefits from ecosystem services as set out in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment are summarized and this assessment is examined critically. Economic views about the economic value of different types of ecosystems and forms of biosphere use are outlined and assessed. Determining the economic value of alternative forms of land-use (more generally biosphere-use) is extremely difficult because of knowledge constraints. Often the biophysical consequences, that is, variations in the supply of ecosystems services resulting from alterations in ecosystems, are poorly known. The economic valuation of changes in ecosystems (alterations in biosphere-use) is also hampered by poor information about the demand for these services (for example, the willingness of beneficiaries to pay for their supply) and the cost of replacing these services if they are lost (or diminished in availability) as a result of ecosystem change. While this limits the scope for economic valuation, it does not mean the rational valuation of biosphere use is impossible. It has been suggested that the supply of ecosystem services can be managed optimally, in some cases, if private landholders are paid for supplying these services. The benefits and drawbacks of this approach are discussed. China’s policies to restore the supply of particular ecosystem services, for example, its Grain-for-Green program, are used to illustrate some of these matters.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +61 7 3365 6570
Fax: +61 7 3365 7299
Web page: http://www.uq.edu.au/economics/index.html
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Azqueta, Diego & Sotelsek, Daniel, 2007. "Valuing nature: From environmental impacts to natural capital," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 22-30, June.
- Norgaard, Richard B., 2010. "Ecosystem services: From eye-opening metaphor to complexity blinder," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(6), pages 1219-1227, April.
- Uchida, Emi & Xu, Jintao & Xu, Zhigang & Rozelle, Scott, 2007. "Are the poor benefiting from China's land conservation program?," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(04), pages 593-620, August.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:uqseee:147512. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.