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Why measure biodiversity values in economic terms?

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Why measure biodiversity values in economic terms? Dr. V.B. Mathur Dean, Faculty of Wildlife Sciences Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun vbm_at_wii.gov.in – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Why measure biodiversity values in economic terms?


1
Why measure biodiversity values in economic terms?
  • Dr. V.B. Mathur
  • Dean, Faculty of Wildlife Sciences
  • Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun
  • vbm_at_wii.gov.in

Pre-meeting training course IAIA 08 Perth,
Australia
2
The Context
  • Environmental and natural resource degradation
    can be caused by both too little and too much
    economic development.
  • A trade off needs to be made between
    environmental conservation and developmental
    imperatives.
  • This can be achieved by incorporating cost
    effective measures to restore, sustain and
    protect natural systems and maintain
    environmental quality in all stages of project
    planning, implementation and operation.

3
Why is biodiversity valuable?
  • Human well-being is dependent both on strong
    economy and healthy natural environment.
  • Biodiversity is a natural capital on which
    societies depend for economic growth.
  • Biodiversity is also intrinsic to the values of
    beauty and tranquility.

4
Why should we value biodiversity?
Historically, biodiversity has been undervalued
in development processes
  • Biodiversity is seen as having few benefits and
    its loss is seen as having few costs.
  • We need to understand what biodiversity
    contributes to economic activity and society?
  • We also need to understand what are the benefits
    and costs of an intervention that alters the
    ecosystem (e.g. development project).

more
5
Why should we value biodiversity?
  • How are costs and benefits of a change in
    ecosystem distributed?
  • Valuation can put biodiversity in the right
    frame and focus.
  • The approach should therefore be to measure
    biodiversity values market these values.
  • The biodiversity market will then drive its
    management towards sustainability.

6
Biodiversity Values
Use Values
Non-Use Values
7
Costs, Benefits Conservation
http//biodiversityeconomics.org/
8
Costs, Benefits Conservation
http//biodiversityeconomics.org/
9
Costs, Benefits Conservation
Key Issues
  • Who gains and who loses from a project/ activity?
  • How can we re-distribute losses and gains?

10
What does valuation tells us?
  • It provides a sum-total of economic benefits
    and costs of biodiversity conservation.
  • At varying time periods as valuation are not
    static
  • Under differential management and economic
    conditions
  • Under varying landuse and investment options
  • It indicates the status of biodiversity.
  • Whether is being degraded or lost and at what
    rate?
  • It also points to the need for applying better
    economic policies and instruments for ensuring
    human well-being.

11
Applications and limitations of biodiversity
valuation.
  • It highlights costs and benefits and cost
    bearers and beneficiaries that in the past
    have been ignored.
  • Valuation thus provides a set of tools that
    enable us to make better and informed decisions.
  • Unfortunately, valuations generally tend to
    underestimate biodiversity values at a large
    scale as interactions are too complex to
    understand.

more
12
Applications and limitations of biodiversity
valuation.
  • When benefits relate to attributes such as human
    life, cultural or religious ethos, valuations
    raise ethical question especially when they focus
    on financial or cash benefits at the expense of
    other types of values that cannot or should not
    be valued.
  • Many time valuation studies are not definitive
    and transferable between groups and locations.
    They are often based on the perception of a
    particular group at one point of time and may not
    be universally valid.

13
Obstacles in biodiversity valuation
  • Lack of data/ information on biophysical
    environment.
  • Methodological constraints as well as accuracy of
    evaluation techniques.
  • Ethical issues relating to valuing environmental
    impacts in monitoring terms.

14
Key message
  • It is relatively easy to spend huge money on
    valuation and yet get results that may not be
    useful and precise.
  • So revisit objective of evaluation, look at
    time, budget and capacity and strengthen the
    process.

15
Thank you
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