Valuing Complex Natural Resource Systems

Valuing Complex Natural Resource Systems

The Case of the Lagoon of Venice

The Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment and Sustainable Development

Edited by Anna Alberini, Paolo Rosato and Margherita Turvani

In complex natural resource systems, modifications or disruptions tend to affect many and diverse components of the ecological system, settlements and groups of people. This book uses the Lagoon of Venice – a unique natural resource, wildlife habitat, centre of cultural heritage and recreational site – as an example of one such system that has been heavily affected by human activities, including the harvesting of natural resources and industrial production. The contributors explore the Lagoon’s potential for regeneration, examining public policies currently under consideration. The aim of these policies is to restore island coastlines and marshes, fish stocks, habitat and environmental quality, defend morphology and landscape through the strict control of fishing practices, and to protect the islands from high tides.

Chapter 3: The Appraisal Approach to Valuing Environment Resources

Edi Defrancesco, Paolo Rosato and Luca Rossetto

Subjects: economics and finance, environmental economics, valuation, environment, environmental economics, valuation

Extract

08/05/2006 17.44 - Valuing Complex Natural Resource Systems – chap. 3 – p. 40 3. The Appraisal Approach to Valuing Environmental Resources Edi Defrancesco, Paolo Rosato and Luca Rossetto 3.1 INTRODUCTION Environmental protection decisions are often based on comparisons of monetary values, such as cost–benefit analyses, which means that it is important to supply public decision makers with reliable valuations methods. When placing a monetary value on an environmental resource, the first order of business is to define the environment and, consequently, the relationships between environment and economic system. In our judgment, the most helpful definition of the environment is the one adopted by the European Council and found in the ‘Green Book’ (EU Commission, 1993): the environment includes the abiotic and biotic natural resources such as the air, water, land, fauna and flora, the interaction between these factors and the goods that form the cultural heritage and characteristic aspects of the landscape. The European Union’s ‘White Book’ (EU Commission, 2000) has recently reinforced this definition and extended it to biodiversity effects in sensitive natural areas. When attention is restricted to interactions between environment and human activity, a more suitable definition is given by the World Health Organisation (Molesti, 1988): the environment is a set of processes and physical, chemical, biological and social influences that directly or indirectly have a significant and clear effect on the health and welfare of the individual or the community. The value of the environment may thus be analysed from three different but complementary standpoints (Howe,...

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