Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 303–328 | Cite as

Ecological Structure and Functions of Biodiversity as Elements of Its Total Economic Value

  • Oliver Fromm


Rational economic decisions regarding theconservation of biodiversity require the considerationof all the benefits generated by this naturalresource. Recently a number of categories of values(inherent value, contributory value, indirect value,infrastructure value, primary value) have beendeveloped, especially in the literature of EcologicalEconomics, which, besides the individual andproductive benefits of biodiversity, also include theutilitarian relevance of the ecological structure andfunctions of biodiversity in the, so-called, totaleconomic value. For the question of including theecological structure and functions of biodiversity inthe total economic value it is of crucial importanceto note, that these categories of values are not onlyterminologically different, but also relate todifferent ecological levels of biodiversity and – mostimportantly – to specific complementary relationships– between species, between elements of ecologicalstructures and between ecological functions and theircontribution to human well-being. This paper analysesthese complementary relationships, discusses theirimplications for the total economic value ofbiodiversity and draws conclusions for decision makingin environmental policy.

biodiversity cost-benefit-analysis ecological structure ecological functions total economic value nonsubstitutability ignorance safe minimum standard 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Fromm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics and Business AdministrationUniversity of KasselKasselGermany

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