Table of Contents

Valuing Ecosystem Services

Valuing Ecosystem Services

Methodological Issues and Case Studies

Edited by K. N. Ninan

Conserving biodiversity and ecosystem services is critical to promoting human welfare and sustainable development. Ecosystem services valuation has therefore recently assumed prominence in research and policy circles. In this illuminating volume, leading experts from around the world discuss the key methodological issues and challenges in valuing ecosystem services. Covering a cross-section of ecosystems and services in different sites, countries and regions, the collection also usefully presents case studies that value ecosystem services and experiences with operationalising valuation into policy.

Chapter 6: Space matters: exploring problematic spatial issues in the valuation of ecosystem services

Paul C. Sutton

Subjects: environment, ecological economics


This chapter touches on several spatial dimensions associated with the economic valuation of ecosystem services and explores one case study associated with the storm protection services provided by coastal wetlands. Making a defensible estimate of the economic value of the storm protection services of a particular coastal wetland will necessarily mandate the inclusion of spatial context in the assessment. Some spatially relevant information needed to make this assessment is: (1) How frequently does this part of the world experience storms? (2) How much built capital is located near enough to these wetlands to be protected by them? Establishing a spatial perspective in the assessment of ecosystem service valuation is also explored in a global study of impervious surface area (ISA) and net primary productivity (NPP). Human well-being is improved by the interaction of social, built, human and natural capital. It has been argued that it is essential to adopt a spatially explicit approach to the valuation of ecosystem services in order to improve the characterization of this interaction (Eade and Moran, 1996). The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005) undoubtedly raised awareness of the importance of ecosystem services to the survival of the human race. Assessing the nature and value of natural capital and ecosystem services involves methods often associated with the transdisciplinary field of research often referred to as ecological economics (Daly and Farley, 2004).

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