Review of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundations

Edited by Pushpam Kumar
London, Earthscan Publications
United Nations Environment Programme
xxxix + 410 pp.
US $76.95 (hardback)
ISBN 978-1- 84971-212-5

It was in the year 2007 when G8 + five countries environment ministers launched a project to evaluate the economic effects of world’s natural ecosystem and biodiversity damage and loss. This makes the The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundations (TEEB) an important reference for both novice and experienced economists who are taking interest in the services of ecosystem and preserving biodiversity research and policy. The critique of this project onecosystem’s neoclassicalvaluation of ecosystem and biodiversity goods and services is what makes it stimulating and thought-provoking. The book also highlights monetary assessment of ecosystems which is showed as a problematic means to anideal end – policy-maker attention and action.

The project’s reflection of the perspective that the nature’s monetization is mistaken makes their book an attention-grabbing read as well as a handy ecosystem service evaluation reference. This chapter covers many and at times brave expectations economists have to create when putting monetary value on environment. The author expresses that it is wrong to accustom the value of society for nature the same with the sum of a person’s willingness to pay values for its preservation. The author also concluded in this chapter that peoples’ relations with environment and its components are communal e and motional.

In Chapter five of the book, a systemic evaluation of non-market valuation theory and methods that any environmental economist would be accustomed with is discussed. The writers do an outstanding discussion on the variance between risk and ambiguity and the difference between ‘normal’ uncertainty and ‘radical’ uncertainty in the framework of ecosystem service and biodiversity source.Radical uncertainty is a predominantlyworryingchallenge for ecosystem service economists given the possibleverges and non-linear processes in ecosystem service supply. The part of the book discussing on treasuring natural capital, the producer of ecosystem services, is also a good read. Towards the end of chapter five, the writer gives a significant review of Benefit Trasnfer (BT) methods and its limitations. It has reminded us that in numerous instances, BT can be one of the feasible valuation approaches and it should be use diligently.

TEEB scholars argue the suitable reduction amount to use in economic investigation of ecosystem services and biodiversity policy in chapter six. The writers are mostly alarmed with the reduction amount used over long periods of time. Most aggressively, the authors contend that policy-makers and researchers should consider undesirable discount rates in ecosystem service and biodiversity policy examination. A negative reduction rate is only conceivable if the development in per capita wealth will be negative in the future. The permanent and profound uncertainty related with natural capital destruction only strengthens the authors’ argument for a low to negative discount rate.

While the TEEB report contains anaction of non-market evaluation that continues the sacredness of individual partialities (chapter five), the rigidity between this more neoclassical approach to valuing the environment and alternative methods to environmental decision making is obvious throughout the valuation chapters.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *