Handbook on the Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity
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Handbook on the Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity

Edited by Paulo A.L.D. Nunes, Pushpam Kumar and Tom Dedeurwaerdere

In recent years, there has been a marked proliferation in the literature on economic approaches to ecosystem management, which has created a subsequent need for real understanding of the scope and the limits of the economic approaches to ecosystems and biodiversity. Within this Handbook, carefully commissioned original contributions from acknowledged experts in the field address the new concepts and their applications, identify knowledge gaps and provide authoritative recommendations.
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Chapter 13: Ecosystem service valuation and the allocation of land

R. David Simpson


Readers of this volume will probably not need to be informed of current interest in 'ecosystem services'. Natural ecosystems provide services such as pollination, flood protection and water purification. Conservationists hope that such systems will prove to be of greater value providing these services than if converted to other uses. Peter Kareiva and Susan Ruffo (2009, p. 3) write that: 'The idea of "ecosystem services" . . . gives us a framework to measure nature's contribution to human well-being, and to understand the cost of its loss . . . This is why, now more than ever, we need to embrace ecosystem services as a basis for conservation' (see also Tallis and Kareiva, 2005; Turner et al., 2007; Daily and Matson, 2008; Turner and Daily, 2008). Arguments for conservation grounded in ecosystem services are problematic on several levels, however. First, some of the services provided by natural ecosystems are global public goods, such as carbon sequestration and the protection of biodiversity. It is certainly desirable to maintain such services, but the conservation community has been trying for decades to motivate international transfers to conserve natural ecosystems (see, for example, Pearce and Moran, 1994). It is not clear that an appeal to the value of ecosystem services for providing global public goods is adding much of anything new - and such appeals have often fallen on deaf ears in the past (Pearce, 2007).

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