Handbook of Ecological Economics
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Handbook of Ecological Economics

Edited by Joan Martínez-Alier and Roldan Muradian

This Handbook provides an overview of major current debates, trends and perspectives in ecological economics. It covers a wide range of issues, such as the foundations of ecological economics, deliberative methods, the de-growth movement, ecological macroeconomics, social metabolism, environmental governance, consumer studies, knowledge systems and new experimental approaches. Written by leading authors in their respective areas of specialisation, the contributions systematize the “state of the art” in the selected topics, and draw insights about new knowledge frontiers.
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Chapter 11: Ecological economics perspectives on ecosystem services valuation

Erik Gómez-Baggethun and Berta Martín-López


Interest in ecosystem services valuation has grown steadily since the 1990s and gained renewed attention after the launch of the international initiative The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity (TEEB). Ecological Economics is the journal that hosts the largest number of papers on ecosystem services valuation (Abson et al., 2014) and yet this topic remains a highly divisive question among ecological economists (Spangenberg and Settele, 2010; Baveye et al., 2013; Kallis et al., 2013). Costanza et al.’s (1997) study on the monetary value of the world’s ecosystems divided ecological economists between those who accept valuing nature in monetary terms as a pragmatic choice, and those who reject it on methodological, ethical or political grounds (Toman, 1998; Spash, 2008). After years of polarized debates, the impasse in the valuation debate is slowly giving way to discussions that aim to define specific conditions under which monetary valuation may or may not be appropriate. This includes considerations on whether valuations are scientifically sound (Baveye et al., 2013), socially just (Martinez-Alier, 2002; Boeraeve et al., 2015), or ethically fair (Jax et al., 2013; Luck et al., 2012).

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