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Edited by Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, Pushpam Kumar and Tom Dedeurwaerdere
Chapter 25: Valuation of ecosystem services provided by man-made wetlands
Man-made wetlands are defined as commercial wetlands created by man and managed by profit-maximizing entrepreneurs. In the eastern part of the Netherlands near Haaksbergen a wetland of about 3 ha has been constructed by an entrepreneur. This wetland, called Waterpark het Lankheet, is constructed as a research project (Meerburg et al., 2010). It provides at least five different ecosystem services: (1) biomass production of reed (including capturing CO2), (2) water quality improvement of surface water by growing reed, (3) improvement of biodiversity in the surrounding area by preventing desiccation problems, (4) water storage in times of flood risk, and (5) recreation. Also, the Dutch government recognizes that wetlands form a promising innovative option to improve water quality in combination with other functions and prefers voluntary types of governance structures (Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, 2008). The main objective of this chapter is to investigate the economic potential of manmade wetlands. In the ecological economics literature, most wetland valuation studies refer to natural wetlands, managed by non-profit organizations or governments. In the case of commercial (man-made) wetlands, the entrepreneur focuses on ecosystem services that generate the highest private revenues. Ecosystem services such as biomass production and recreation can be characterized as private services that potentially can be sold on a market. If a market exists, these private services will have a market price that coordinates supply and demand. The revenues of these private services are included in the profit-maximization function of the entrepreneur.
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