Betting against Human Ingenuity: The Perils of the Economic Valuation of Nature's Services

Submitted by Stavros Stagakis on June 19, 2018 - 6:33pm
Kronenberg J., BioScience, 2015

At the turn of the twentieth century, economic ornithologists focused on the monetary value of services provided by birds in order to fit nature conservation into the dominant economic paradigm. Pest control was of key interest because of its political importance and because it was relatively easy to quantify and monetize. However, this particular service became obsolete when a human-made solution was introduced that performed the same service - seemingly more cost effectively and reliably - undermining the political standing of economic ornithology. The broader external costs related to the replacement of birds' services by industrial pesticides were only discovered later. With their focus on the individual benefits that people derive from nature or even bundles of such benefits, the concepts of ecosystem services, the valuation of ecosystem services, and nature-based solutions expose nature conservation to similar risks, of which we may not yet be aware. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. All rights reserved.

Kronenberg, J., 2015. Betting against Human Ingenuity: The Perils of the Economic Valuation of Nature’s Services. Bioscience 65, 1096–1099. doi:10.1093/biosci/biv135
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