The Calculus of Biodiversity Value

  • Donald S. Maier
Part of the The International Library of Environmental, Agricultural and Food Ethics book series (LEAF, volume 19)


At the logical halfway point of the book, this chapter turns from what biodiversity is to the value proposition for it. Its discussion abstracts from any particular account of the source of biodiversity’s value insofar as this is possible. Before looking at specific accounts for how biodiversity might get its value (in Chap. 6), this chapter examines various implicit and explicit assumptions about how, more abstractly, the value of biodiversity relates to biodiversity itself. Section 5.1 asks such questions as: Does biodiversity admit of more and less – that is, increments and decrements – in a way that permits orderings – that is, more or less biodiverse states of a place or of the world? If so, do relative orderings in degrees of biodiversity – for example, one place or state of the world being more biodiverse than another – directly transfer to a directly varying ordering of values? Section 5.2 further explores value orderings, which a richly structured definition of biodiversity along multiple dimensions (as suggested in Chap. 3) might restrict. And finally, Sect. 5.3 explores the question of what these abstractly characterized relationships between biodiversity and its value imply about possible obligations with regard to biodiversity.


Species Diversity Threshold Model Allopatric Speciation Extinct Species Category Mistake 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald S. Maier
    • 1
  1. 1.CampbellUSA

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