Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 313–333 | Cite as

Do we really care about Biodiversity?

  • David Pearce
Article

Abstract

This paper addresses from an economic perspective the issue of global biodiversity conservation. It challenges the perception that the world really cares a great deal about biodiversity and is prepared to pay the full cost of maintaining this stock of natural capital. Despite the existence of a plethora of international agreements there still seems to be a global ‘deficit of care’ surrounding efforts to combat challenges such as those posed by global warming and biodiversity conservation. More light can be thrown on the degree of care by measuring both the actual expenditures and the stated willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation. However, actual expenditures are much lower than willingness to pay estimates recorded in the published literature. Using the criteria that the ‘right’ amount of conservation effort is one where the marginal economic benefits from conservation just equal the marginal costs of conservation, the paper explores the biodiversity conservation conundrum and concluded that, on the available evidence, the world does not care too much about this natural capital stock and bequests to future generations.

Keywords

Biodiversity conservation Conservation management costs Willingness to pay for conservation Ecosystem service Cost benefit analysis 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Alexander A, List J, Margolis M and d’Arge R (1998). A method for valuing global ecosystem services. Ecol Econ 27:   161–170 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson T, Hill P (eds) (1995). Wildlife in the marketplace. Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham Google Scholar
  3. Balmford A, Bruner A, Cooper P, Costanza R, Farber S, Green R, Jenkins M, Jefferiss P, Jessamy V, Madden J, Munro K, Myers N, Naeem S, Paavaola J, Rayment M, Rosendo S, Roughgarden J, Trumper K and Turner RK (2002). Economic reasons for conserving wild nature. Science 297:   950–395 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Balmford A, Gaston K, Blyth S, James A and Kapos V (2003). Global variation in terrestrial conservation costs, conservation benefits, and unmet conservation needs. PNAS Proceed Nat Acad Sci 100(3):   1046–1050 Google Scholar
  5. Barrett S (2003). Environment and statecraft: the strategy of environmental treaty making. Oxford University Press, Oxford Google Scholar
  6. Barrett S (2004) Kyoto plus. In Helm D (ed) Climate change poliy. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Bockstael N, Freeman AM, Kopp R, Portney P and Smith VK (2000). On valuing Nature. J Environ Sci Technol 34(8): 1384–1389 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brouwer R, Langford I, Bateman IJ and Turner RK (1999). A meta-analysis of wetland contingent valuation studies. Reg Environ Change 1(1): 47–57 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chape S, Blyth S, Fish L, Fox P, Spalding M (2003) 2003 United Nations List of Protected Areas. Gland: International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Cambridge: World Conservation and Monitoring CentreGoogle Scholar
  10. Chichilnisky G and Heal G (1998). Economic returns from the biosphere. Nature 391: 629–630 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chomitz, Brenes KE, Constantino L (1998). Financing Environmental Services: The Costa Rican Experience and its Implications. World Bank, mimeo Google Scholar
  12. Coase R (1960). The problem of social cost. J Law Econ 3: 1–44 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Costanza R, d’ Arge R, Grasso M, Hannon B, Limburg K, Naeem S, O’Neil R, Paruelo J, Raskin R, Sutton P, RGroot Farber S and Belt M (1997). The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387: 253–260 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dirzo R and Raven P (2003). Global state of biodiversity and loss. Ann Rev Environ Resour 28: 137–167 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Drake V (1995). Dealing in diversity: America’s market for nature conservation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  16. Food and Agriculture Organisation (2001) Forest Resources Assessment 2000. FAO, Rome Google Scholar
  17. Horton B, Colarullo G, Bateman IJ and Peres C (2003). Evaluating non-user willingness to pay for large-scale conservation programs in Amazonia: a UK/Italian contingent valuation study. Environ Conserv 30(2): 139–146 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hutton J, Dickson B (eds) (2000). Endangered species, threatened convention: the past, present and future of CITIES. Earthscan, London Google Scholar
  19. James A, Gaston K and Balmford A (1999). Balancing the Earth’s accounts. Nature 401: 323–324 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. James A, Gaston K and Balmford A (2001). Can we afford to conserve biodiversity. Bioscience 51(1): 43–52 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kramer R and Mercer E (1997). Valuing a global environmental good: US residents’ willingness to pay to protect tropical rain forests. Land Econ 73: 196–210 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Krebs C (1994). Ecology. Addison-Wesley, Menlo Park CA Google Scholar
  23. Langholz J, Lassoie J, Lee D and Chapman D (2000). Economic considerations of privately-owned parks. Ecol Econ 33: 173–183 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Langholz J and Lassoie J (2001). Perils and promise of privately owned protected areas. Bioscience 51: 1079–1085 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lapham N, Livermore R. Striking a balance. Ensuring conservation’s place on the international biodiversity assistance agenda. Conservation International,Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  26. Lindzen R (1994). On the scientific basis for global warming scenarios. Environ Pollut 83: 125–134 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lomborg B (2001). The skeptical environmentalist: measuring the real state of the world. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  28. Lomborg B (ed) (2004). Global crises, global solutin. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  29. Lopez R (1998). Where development can or cannot go: the role of poverty-environment linkages. Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics 1997: 285–306 Google Scholar
  30. Matthews E (2001). Understanding the forest resources assessment 2000. World Resources Institute, Washington DC Google Scholar
  31. Nature E (1998). Audacious bid to value the planet whips up a storm. Nature 395: 430 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Norton-Griffiths M and Southey C (1995). The opportunity costs of biodiversity conservation in Kenya. Ecol Econ 12: 125–129 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. O’Neill B and Oppenheimer M (2002). Dangerous climate impacts and the Kyoto Protocol. Science 296: 1971–1972 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pearce DW (1998). Auditing the Earth. Environment 40(2): 23–28 Google Scholar
  35. Pearce DW (2001). The economic value of forest ecosystems. Ecosyst Health 7(4): 284–296 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Pearce DW (2003). Will global warming be controlled? Reflections on the irresolution of humankind. In: Pethig, R and Rauscher, M (eds) Challenges to the World Economy: Festschrift for Horst Siebert, pp 367–382. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Google Scholar
  37. Pearce DW (2004). Environmental market creation: saviour or oversell. Portuguese economic J 3(2): 115–144 Google Scholar
  38. Pearce DW and Moran D (1994). The economic value of biodiversity. Earthscan, London Google Scholar
  39. Pearce DW and Pearce C (2001). The value of forest ecosystems. Montreal www.biodiv.org/doc/publications/cbd-ts-04.pdf, Convention on Biological Diversity Google Scholar
  40. Pearce DW, Atkinson G and Mourato S (2005). Cost-benefit analysis and the environment: recent developments. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Paris Google Scholar
  41. Pimm S, Russell G, Gittleman J and Brooks T (1995). The future of biodiversity. Science 269: 347–350 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Richards J (1990). Land transformation. In: Turner, B, Clark, W, Kates, R, Richards, J, Mathews, J and Meyer, W (eds) The earth as transformed by human action, pp 163–178. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  43. Ruitenbeek J (1992). The rainforest supply price: a tool for evaluating rainforest conservation expenditures. Ecol Econ 6(1): 57–78 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sagoff M (2004). Price, principle and the environment. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  45. Sandler T (1997). Global challenges: an approach to environmental political and economic problems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  46. Sands P, Tarasofsky R, Weiss M (eds) (1994) Documents in international environmental law. vols I and II. Manchester University Press, ManchesterGoogle Scholar
  47. Simon J (1981). The ultimate resource. Blackwell, Oxford Google Scholar
  48. Simon J (1986). Theory of population and economic growth. Blackwell, Oxford Google Scholar
  49. Simon J (1995). The state of humanity. Blackwell, Oxford Google Scholar
  50. Simon J and Kahn H (1984). The Resourceful Earth. Blackwell, Oxford Google Scholar
  51. Strok N (1999) The magnitude of global biodiversity and its decline. In Cracraft J Grifc NF The living planet in crisis: biodiversity, science and policy. Columbia University Press, New York 3–32Google Scholar
  52. Sudo T (2003) A study of international financial instruments for global conservation: debt for nature swaps and the clean development mechanism. Master’s Thesis in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, University College LondonGoogle Scholar
  53. Toman M (1998). Why not to calculate the value of the world’s ecosystems and natural capital. Ecol Econ 25: 57–60 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Turner RK, Pavavola J, Cooper P, Farber S, Jessamy V and Georgiou S (2003). Valuing nature: lessons learned and future research directions. Ecol Econ 46: 493–510 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Kooten C (1998). Economics of conservation biology: a critical review. Environ Sci Pol, 1: 13–25 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. van Schaik C, van Terborgh J, Dugelby B (1997) The silent crisis: the state of rainforest nature preserves. In: Kramer, R (eds) Last stand: protected areas and the defense of tropical biodiversity., pp 64–89. Oxford University Press, Oxford Google Scholar
  57. Vitousek P, Ehrlich P, Ehrlich A and Matson P (1986). Human appropriation of the products of photosynthesis. BioScience 36: 368–373 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Vitousek P, Mooney H, Lubchenco J and Melillo J (1997). Human domination of Earth’s ecosystems. Science 277: 494–499 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Whelan T (ed) (1991). Nature tourism: managing for the environment. Island Press, Covelo Google Scholar
  60. Woodward R and Wui Y-S (2001). The economic value of wetland services: a meta-analysis. Ecol Econ 37: 257–270 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. World Bank (2002) Costing the 7th Millennium development goal: ensure environmental sustainability. Environment Department and Development Economics Research Group. World Bank,Washington DC (Restricted)Google Scholar
  62. World Resources Institute (1998) World resources 1998–2000. Oxford University Press, Oxford Google Scholar
  63. World Resources Institute (2003) World resources 2002–2004, decisions for the earth – balance, voice and power. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Pearce
    • 1
  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations