Values, Payments and Institutions for Ecosystem Management

Values, Payments and Institutions for Ecosystem Management

A Developing Country Perspective

Edited by Pushpam Kumar and Ibrahim Thiaw

Using a selection of authoritative and original contributions, this timely book explores the uncertainty surrounding the impact of decisions undertaken to manage ecosystem services worldwide. Invariably, the policies designed and implemented to manage forests, wetlands, and marine and coastal environments often involve conflicts of interest between various stakeholders. This has added an additional layer of complexity in the context of developing countries where institutions and governance are weak or absent. Economic valuation and the subsequent design of innovative response tools such as payment for ecosystem services (PES) have the potential to offer far greater transparency. In the case of LDCs, the identification of suitable institutions for executing these tools is also of vital importance.

Chapter 12: The ethical foundations of cultural diversity in ecosystems and their role in economic valuation

Ian Parker

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, environmental economics, environment, ecological economics, environmental economics, management natural resources, valuation


The problem of ‘economic valuation’, in which monetary value is assigned to environmental factors, attempts to connect the domain of the economic, i.e. the accumulation and management of capital, seen as a priority under capitalism, with the perceptions and preferences of individual subjects. When this problem is taken for granted, the main concern in research-oriented to policy is how cultural diversity should be included alongside specific calculable biological resources (Nunes and van den Bergh 2001). Economic valuation usually entails abstraction of people from their social context, i.e. people are treated as individual subjects rather than social actors, in order that their own specific assessments of value might be aggregated. This aggregation of viewpoints is assumed necessary for economic purposes, and for policy initiatives that attempt to recruit and mobilize individuals and populations to work together in ways that enhance rather than diminish cultural diversity.

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