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Ecosystem services

qualitative functions of natural non—produced assets of land, water and air (including related ecosystem) and their biota


Example of assigning economic value to biodiversity

Asian Wild Gour
1 meat harvested from wild populations DIRECT USE
2 nature tourism INDIRECT USE
3 future potential in domestic cattle breeding programs OPTION VALUE
4 intrinsic/cultural/aesthetic value EXISTENCE VALUE


Indirect use values (non-consumptive) (8)

1 ecosystem productivity
2 protection of water and soil resources
3 climate regulation
4 waste treatment and nutrient retention
5 species relationships
6 environmental monitors e.g. 'lungs of the world'
7 recreation and ecotourism
8 educational ad scientific value


direct use value



indirect use option

ecological services
e.g.) flood control, C offset, climate control


option value

premium paid to maintain resources for future use


existence value

intrinsic value
e.g.) cultural, spiritual, aesthetic, bequest


costs of maintaining biodiversity

collateral e.g. lost of income from land (forestry)
valuing biodiversity economically


The 'tragedy of the commons'

Some resources are common to everyone
-> over-exploitation of resource
e.g.) catch as many fish as can because the other person isn't going to catch less


Direct use values: externalities

e.g. intensive farming/loss of trees -> erosion into rivers -> sediment/silt in rivers messes up fisheries


ecological economics and direct economic values:
case study

Yellowstone National Park
Locals mainly rely on ecotourism now
- downside is tourists lead to disturbance of animals, car pollution and a rise in anthropogenic forest fires

4 decades ago extractive industry was also major
- mining & logging
-> cyanide pollution (used to extract from rocks)
-> silt in rivers (logging)
- much more destructive
- would damage ecotourism income