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What Are Ecosystem Services?

Author

Listed:
  • Boyd, James

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Banzhaf, H. Spencer

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

This paper advocates consistently defined units of account to measure the contributions of nature to human welfare. We argue that such units have to date not been defined by environmental accounting advocates and that the term “ecosystem services” is too ad hoc to be of practical use in welfare accounting. We propose a definition, rooted in economic principles, of ecosystem service units. A goal of these units is comparability with the definition of conventional goods and services found in GDP and the other national accounts. We illustrate our definition of ecological units of account with concrete examples. We also argue that these same units of account provide an architecture for environmental performance measurement by governments, conservancies, and environmental markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyd, James & Banzhaf, H. Spencer, 2006. "What Are Ecosystem Services?," Discussion Papers dp-06-02, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-06-02
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-06-02.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Carlos Gustavo Machicado & Beatriz Muriel & Luis Carlos Jemio, 2010. "Aporte de los Servicios Ecosistémicos silvícolas a la Economía Boliviana," Development Research Working Paper Series 12/2010, Institute for Advanced Development Studies.
    2. Kroeger, Timm & Casey, Frank, 2007. "An assessment of market-based approaches to providing ecosystem services on agricultural lands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 321-332, December.
    3. Marshall, Liz, 2007. "Carving Out Policy Space for Sustainability in Biofuel Production," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 183-196, October.
    4. Barbera, Mattia G., 2012. "Towards an Economic Valuation of the Hauraki Gulf: The Finding of an Eco-Cluster?," 2012 Conference, August 31, 2012, Nelson, New Zealand 136041, New Zealand Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    5. Ruggeri, Joe, 2009. "Government investment in natural capital," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1723-1739, April.
    6. Moore, Rebecca, 2013. "Prioritizing Ecosystem Service Protection and Conservation Efforts in the Forest Plantations of the Red Hills," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(1), April.
    7. Boyd, James W., 2006. "The Non-Market Benefits of Nature: What Should Be Counted in Green GDP?," Discussion Papers dp-06-24, Resources For the Future.
    8. Doyle, Martin W. & Yates, Andrew J., 2010. "Stream ecosystem service markets under no-net-loss regulation," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(4), pages 820-827, February.
    9. Wainger, Lisa A. & Van Houtven, George & Loomis, Ross & Messer, Jay & Beach, Robert H. & Deerhake, Marion, 2013. "Tradeoffs among Ecosystem Services, Performance Certainty, and Cost-efficiency in Implementation of the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(1), April.
    10. Wossink, Ada & Swinton, Scott M., 2007. "Jointness in production and farmers' willingness to supply non-marketed ecosystem services," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 297-304, December.
    11. Jonathan Boston & Frieder Lempp, 2011. "Climate change: Explaining and solving the mismatch between scientific urgency and political inertia," Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(8), pages 1000-1021, October.
    12. Ribaudo, Marc & Hansen, LeRoy T. & Hellerstein, Daniel & Greene, Catherine R., 2008. "The Use of Markets To Increase Private Investment in Environmental Stewardship," Economic Research Report 56473, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    13. Johnston, Robert J. & Schultz, Eric T. & Segerson, Kathleen & Besedin, Elena Y. & Ramachandran, Mahesh, 2013. "Stated Preferences for Intermediate versus Final Ecosystem Services: Disentangling Willingness to Pay for Omitted Outcomes," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 42(01), pages 98-118, April.
    14. Bauer, Dana Marie & Johnston, Robert J., 2013. "Foreword: The Economics of Rural and Agricultural Ecosystem Services: Purism versus Practicality," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 42(1), April.
    15. Sauer, Johannes & Wossink, Ada, 2010. "The Marginal Cost Of Agri-Environmental Services," 50st Annual Conference, Braunschweig, Germany, September 29-October 1, 2010 93939, German Association of Agricultural Economists (GEWISOLA).
    16. Boyd, James & Krupnick, Alan, 2009. "The Definition and Choice of Environmental Commodities for Nonmarket Valuation," Discussion Papers dp-09-35, Resources For the Future.
    17. Ingraham, Molly W. & Foster, Shonda Gilliland, 2008. "The value of ecosystem services provided by the U.S. National Wildlife Refuge System in the contiguous U.S," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(4), pages 608-618, November.
    18. Moore, Rebecca & Williams, Tiffany & Rodriguez, Eduardo, 2011. "Valuing Ecosystem Services from Private Forests," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103717, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    19. Bachev, Hrabrin, 2010. "Agro-Ecosystem Services – Governance Needs and Efficiency," MPRA Paper 25978, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Bachev, Hrabrin, 2009. "Governing of Agro-Ecosystem Services," MPRA Paper 15492, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    21. Boyd, James & Epanchin-Niell, Rebecca & Siikamaki, Juha, 2012. "Conservation Return on Investment Analysis: A Review of Results, Methods, and New Directions," Discussion Papers dp-12-01, Resources For the Future.
    22. Egoh, Benis & Rouget, Mathieu & Reyers, Belinda & Knight, Andrew T. & Cowling, Richard M. & van Jaarsveld, Albert S. & Welz, Adam, 2007. "Integrating ecosystem services into conservation assessments: A review," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(4), pages 714-721, September.
    23. Patrick POINT (GREThA, CNRS, UMR 5113), 2012. "Valuation of wetland ecosystems services. Some methodological principles (In French)," Cahiers du GREThA 2012-19, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental accounting; ecosystem services; index theory; nonmarket valuation;

    JEL classification:

    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q57 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Ecological Economics
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics

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