This folder will provide access to publications, reports, data bases, organisations and discussion groups on guidelines methods and tools for valuation (ecologically, culturally and economically) of goods and services provided by natural and semi-natural ecosystems and landscapes.
|Key publications in the field of valuation:|
by Stephen Farber, Robert Costanza and Matthew Wilson.
Ecosystem valuation themes:
- Cultural Values of Nature
- Economic Valuation
- Ecological Valuation
Valuation methods and guidelines
An increasing amount of information on the ecological and socio-cultural and economic value of goods and services provided by natural and semi-natural ecosystems is being documented. However, much of this information appears scattered throughout academic literature, unpublished government agency reports, and across the internet. In addition, data on ecosystem goods and services often appears at incompatible scales of analysis and is classified differently by different authors and organisations. This section “Guidelines and methods for valuation” aims to bring together those scattered pieces and sources of information. It offers a starting point for those interested in assessment and valuation studies based on comprehensive ecological, socio-cultural and economic analysis tools.
Valuing Ecosystem Goods and Services
The importance (or ‘value’) of ecosystems is roughly divided into three types: ecological, socio-cultural and economic value. It is reasoned here that the concept of ecosystem goods and services is inherently anthropocentric: it is the presence of human beings as valuing agents that enables the translation of basic ecological structures and processes into value-laden entities.
TOTAL VALUE / IMPORTANCE
(Based on ecological
(Based on efficiency & cost-effectiveness)
- productive use
- consumptive use
(Based on equity and
- therapeutic value
- amenity value
- cultural identity
- spiritual value
- existence value
The Ecological value or importance of a given ecosystem is therefore determined both by the integrity of the provisioning and regulation functions of the ecosystem and by ecosystem parameters such as complexity, diversity, and rarity. Since most functions and related ecosystem processes are inter-linked, sustainable use levels should be determined under complex system conditions, taking due account of the dynamic interactions between functions, values and processes.
The Socio-cultural value in addition to ecological criteria, social values (such as equity) and perceptions play an important role in determining the importance of natural ecosystems and their functions, to human well being. Social reasons are frequently mentioned as playing an important role in identifying important ecosystem functions. Natural systems are thus a crucial source of cultural and Spiritual (or non-material) wellbeing and indispensable for a sustainable society.
The Economic value can be assessed by valuation methods which fall into four basic types each with its own repertoire of associated measurement issues: (1) direct market valuation, (2) indirect market valuation, (3) contingent valuation, (4) group valuation. The uncertainties in economic methods regarding non-linear interactions and complexities such as ecological thresholds, socio-dynamics and irreversibilities require considerate application in decision making.