Economics and Ecosystems
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Economics and Ecosystems

Efficiency, Sustainability and Equity in Ecosystem Management

Lars Hein

Economics and Ecosystems demonstrates how the concepts of economic efficiency, sustainability and equity can be applied in ecosystem management. The book presents an overview of these three concepts, a framework for their analysis and modelling, and three case studies. Specific attention is given to how complex ecosystem dynamics, such as thresholds or irreversible responses, influence ecosystem management options. The case studies focus on ecosystem dynamics and ecosystem services supply in a forest ecosystem, a Dutch wetland, and a rangeland in the Western Sahel.
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Chapter 3: A Quantitative Ecological–Economic Assessment Approach

Lars Hein


A FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYSING ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT OPTIONS This chapter presents a quantitative, dynamic framework for ecological– economic assessment and modelling of ecosystem management options. The framework can be used to assess the efficiency, sustainability and equity aspects of ecosystem management options, while accounting for the complex dynamics of ecosystems, and is visualised in Figure 3.1. The interactions presented in the framework need to be expressed in monetary terms when their impact on the economy is studied, and in biological or physical units when their interactions with the ecosystem are studied. The framework includes four types of management measures: (1) the use or harvest of ecosystem services; (2) pollution control, e.g. by applying waste-water treatment; (3) managing land cover; and (4) other, direct interventions in the ecosystem. Each measure corresponds to a decision variable. These measures, in combination with ecological processes, determine the dynamics of the ecosystem – which can proceed according to different ecological models. Subsequent changes in the state of the ecosystem influence its capacity to supply ecosystem services. The total welfare supplied by the ecosystem is a function of the net benefits provided by ecosystem services, and the costs of pollution control, ecosystem interventions and managing land cover change. When the figure is applied, the various management options, the dynamics of the ecosystem, and ecosystem services supply need to be quantified for the specific ecosystem involved. The different elements of the framework are elaborated below. In Figure 3.1, the ecosystem changes over time as a function of (1) internal,...

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