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Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human WellbeingAn Ecological and Economic Perspective$
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Shahid Naeem, Daniel E. Bunker, Andy Hector, Michel Loreau, and Charles Perrings

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199547951

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199547951.001.0001

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The valuation of ecosystem services

The valuation of ecosystem services

(p.248) 18 The valuation of ecosystem services
Biodiversity, Ecosystem Functioning, and Human Wellbeing

Edward B. Barbier

Stefan Baumgärtner

Kanchan Chopra

Christopher Costello

Anantha Duraiappah

Rashid Hassan

Ann P. Kinzig

Markus Lehman

Unai Pascual

Stephen Polasky

Charles Perrings

Oxford University Press

By harnessing recent results on the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning to an assessment of the valued services that people obtain from the natural environment, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) has brought the analysis of ecosystems into the domain of economics. Ecosystem services are defined by the MA as the benefits that people obtain from ecosystems. Since the value of any asset is simply the discounted stream of benefits that are obtained from that asset, the benefit streams associated with ecosystem services may be used to estimate the value of the underlying ecological assets. Those assets are not the traditional stocks of resource economics – minerals, water, timber and so on – but the systems that yield flows of such things. This chapter discusses the value of ecosystems and ecosystem services. It identifies the main methods for valuing different types of ecosystem service, and the role of valuation in developing sustainability indicators. The sustainability of economic development requires that the value of the assets or capital stocks supporting development be maintained over time, and since capital includes produced, human and natural capital, it is important to understand how the value of ecosystems may be changing relative to the value of other capital stocks.

Keywords:   ecosystem services, valuation, revealed preference, stated preference

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