The challenge of ecosystems and biodiversity

Salman Hussain, Anil Markandya, Luke Brander, Alistair McVittie, Rudolf De Groot, Olivier Vardakoulias, Alfred Wagtendonk, Peter H. Verburg

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Introduction In this chapter we look at the costs and benefits of three possible interventions that would enhance the planet's biodiversity and improve its ecosystems over the next forty years The results are based on a study carried out across four research institutes and coordinated by the Scottish Agricultural College (Hussain etal 2011) that combined a global biophysical model (IMAGE-GLOBIO) which analyzed the biophysical impacts of different development scenarios compared to the counterfactual with a set of valuation studies that placed monetary values on the outcomes resulting from the different policy options in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ESSs) While reference is frequently made in the popular press to biodiversity losses in practice it is difficult to quantify and value them There are several studies that attempt to do this in specific cases but no one has successfully estimated the value of the loss of biodiversity at a global level This is because the links between biodiversity and biolo-gical systems and the economic and social values that they support are extremely complex Even the measurement of biodiversity is problematic with a multi-dimensional metric regarded as appropriate (Purvis and Hector 2000; Mace etal 2003) but with further work considered necessary to define the appropriate combination

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Problems, Smart Solutions
Subtitle of host publicationCosts and Benefits
EditorsB. Lomborg
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages42
ISBN (Electronic)9781139600484
ISBN (Print)9781107039599, 9781107612211
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


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