Capturing the complexity of biodiversity: A critical review of economic valuation studies of biological diversity

Author(s): Bartkowski B, Lienhoop N, Hansjürgens B


Biodiversity is a highly complex and abstract ecological concept. Even though it is not one physical entity, it influences human well-being in multiple ways, mostly indirectly. While considerable research effort has been spent on the economic valuation of biodiversity, it remains to be a particularly challenging ‘valuation object’. Valuation practitioners therefore have to use proxies for biodiversity, many of which are very simple (single species, habitats). This paper presents a comprehensive and critical review of biodiversity valuation studies with special emphasis on biodiversity valuation in order to depict the state-of-the-art in this research field. It develops evaluation criteria so as to identify best-practice applications and shows that the field of biodiversity valuation studies is rather heterogeneous regarding both valuation objects and valuation methods. On the basis of our evaluation criteria and best-practice studies we suggest that to account for the complexity and abstractness of biodiversity, multi-attribute approaches with encompassing information provision should be used that emphasise the roles biodiversity plays for human well-being.

Similar Articles

Ecosystem service bundles for analyzing tradeoffs in diverse landscapes

Author(s): Raudsepp-Hearne C, Peterson GD, Bennett EM

Ecosystem services in urban areas

Author(s): Bolund P, Hunhammar S

Benefits of restoring ecosystem services in urban areas

Author(s): Elmqvist T, Setälä H, Handel SN, Van Der Ploeg S, Aronson J, et al.

Ecological and aesthetic values in urban forest management

Author(s): Tyrväinen L, Silvennoinen H, Kolehmainen O

Urban green infrastructure and urban forests: a case study of the Metropolitan Area of Milan

Author(s): Sanesi G, Colangelo G, Lafortezza R, Calvo E, Davies C

Combining ecological and recreational aspects in national park management: A choice experiment application

Author(s): Juutinen A, Mitani Y, Mäntymaa E, Shoji Y, Siikamäki P, et al.

Using choice experiments to value the environment

Author(s): Hanley N, Wright RE, Adamowicz V

Valuing the diversity of biodiversity

Author(s): Christie M, Hanley N, Warren J, Murphy K, Wright R, et al.

Valuing wetland attributes: an application of choice experiments

Author(s): Carlsson F, Frykblom P, Liljenstolpe C

A new approach to consumer theory

Author(s): Lancaster KJ

A law of comparative judgment

Author(s): Thurstone LL

Marketing models of consumer heterogeneity

Author(s): Allenby GM, Rossi PE

Mixed MNL models for discrete response

Author(s): McFadden D, Train K

Effects coding in discrete choice experiments

Author(s): Bech M, Gyrd-Hansen D

Evaluating natural attractions for tourism

Author(s): Deng J, King B, Bauer T