BC3. Basque centre for climate change – Klima aldaketa ikergai

Klimagune Summer School Training Caravan Seminars UPV BC3

Seminario / Mintegia 24th September

Seminar / Mintegia / Seminario

Theoretical issues and operational challenges in ecosystem services valuation.

Dr. Erik Gómez-Baggethun (Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)

ABSTRACT: We identify theoretical issues and operational challenges for current efforts to incorporate the value of ecosystem services in economic planning and decision making. Operational challenges addressed include 1) double counting, 2) non-linear dynamics. First, double counting problems emerge from the synergies and trade-offs in ecosystem services delivery. Substantial problems result from the attempt of extrapolating accounting models designed for economic goods to complex interrelated systems of ecosystem functions. We stress the limits that accounting models are meeting in their quest to develop ‘well defined ecosystem service units’ by artificially treating as discrete items what in reality are overlapping ecological processes. It is argued that the focus should shift from efforts to define single ecosystem services to ecosystem service bundles produced by service providing units with ecologically consistent boundaries. Second, conventional economic valuation bas ed on marginal analysis is misleading when ecosystems are close to thresholds and small changes may lead to abrupt loss of ecosystem services. It is suggested that in such situations information guiding ecosystem service management should move from monetary values to early warning signals based on biophysical indicators. Two theoretical issues are raised: 1) value incommensurability, 2) com-modification. The notion of value incommensurability, that is, the idea that the distinct value dimensions involved in ecosystem valuation may not be reduced to a single measurement unit, e.g. money, energy, land, or labor. The idea that failure to preserve ecosystem services can be tackled through their pricing and articulation through markets is discussed critically in the light of this theoretical stand. It is argued that, whereas money has become the hegemonic valuation language, decision making in ecosystem services management entails dealing with conflicting and often irreducible values. C losely related to this issue, the second issue relates to com-modification. The emphasis is put in the loss of information that results from masking diverse ecological processes behind the homogeneity of monetary figures, and the changes that result in human-nature relations. It is argued that if the perception of ecological elements and processes as exchange values becomes normalized, ecosystem functions lacking direct economic value may tend to become invisible in decision making. The last section of the paper discusses implications of the above identified issues for ecosystems services science and related design of environmental policy instruments.



Valuing the Water Purification/Filtration Service of Temperate Coastal Rainforests in Southwestern British Columbia: A Stochastic Production Function Approach.

Dr. Duncan Knowler (Simon Fraser University jointly with Ashley Page)

ABSTRACT: In many biodiversity rich forest areas, a lack of understanding exists concerning the tradeoffs between timber harvesting and maintaining ecosystem services, where losses of these services can occur as externalities from the timber harvest. Since these relationships are influenced by rainfall regime, it can be expected that knowledge of the tradeoffs can provide important information on the impacts of climate change. This study provides insight into such tradeoffs by estimating the value of a change in a forests water purification/filtration service in British Columbia (Canada), focusing on the improvement in the quality of water as the management emphasis shifts from timber harvesting to conservation for drinking water supply. We use an integrated economic-ecological model to quantify the economic impact of reduced forest road induced sedimentation on raw water quality prior to its arrival at a municipal water treatment plant. With respect to road-induced sedimentation, we consider traffic volume and aggregate road length. We find that the economic value of the water purification/filtration service is not as sensitive to traffic volume as it is to the aggregate road length. Our analysis will be helpful to forest planners who must consider the tradeoffs in forest management when timber harvesting can have harmful impacts on important ecosystem services, such as water purification/filtration.




If you are interested in attending the Seminar, please register yourself clicking here

Faculty of Sarriko, 24th of September Room B.02 12:00-14:00

* The Seminar will be in English. / Mintegia ingelesez burutuko da. / El seminario se realizará en inglés.


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