by S Farber, R Costanza, DL Childers

BioScience 56(2):121–133

This paper presents a valuation approach of the benefits humans receive directly or indirectly from ecosystems to estimate the trade-offs associated with the management decisions of these vital spaces. The study begins with a review and definition of the four major categories of ecosystem functions and services: supportive, regulating, provisioning, and cultural. Three Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) case studies in coastal (Plum Island Ecosystem in northeastern Massachusetts), urban (Central Arizona Phoenix), and agricultural (The Kellogg Biological Station in southwestern Michigan) sites served to formulate and measure the effects of different ecosystem management options on the ecology and the welfare of humans. The authors used the conventional valuation methods based on what people are willing to pay or receive in compensation should a change occur in their ecosystem service. They also looked at what it would cost to replace the ecosystem service, or the cost avoided by its use. The case studies showed that the services-based method can work but has several important limitations. Therefore, when these methods cannot objectively help grasp the social and economic impacts of the increase or decrease in ecosystem services, the authors recommend associating practical techniques such as user or expert scoring, ranking, and rating.
Region: Arizona, Massachusetts, Michigan
Publication Type: Journal article
Keywords: ecosystem services, ecosystem services valuation, and valuation