Economic valuation of ecological functions and services of natural ecosystems : A Guide on the use of simple methods
IUCN-PACO publishes a use of simple methods of assessing natural ecosystems guide. He wants to allow a better understandingof the most commonly used economic valuation concepts and methods applied by natural ecosystem evaluators.
The economic valuation of ecological functions and services of natural ecosystems makes it possible to give evidence to the rationale behind conservation policies on these ecosystems. Most of the planning and development decisions on these natural ecosystems are driven by economic factors, notably their capacity to generate income or to provide food to the riparian population. Although economic valuation methods have some limitations, the conservation and sound use of natural ecosystems require the consideration of economic parameters.
This guide allows quick understanding of the most commonly used economic valuation concepts and methods applied by natural ecosystem evaluators. It was deliberately simplified in order to enable all economist and non - economist actors to take ownership of it. It is not claiming to address all issues relating to the economic valuation of ecological services. However, it enables non specialists of environmental economics to understand the basic principles and to further engage in the application of economic valuation of ecosystems.
The present guide is a contribution of the International Union for Conservation of Nature to a wider application of simple methods for the monetary valuation of goods and services provided by natural ecosystems in West Africa. It is based on four studies conducted on four wetlands: two studies on the Sourou valley (Burkina Faso and Mali), one on the Basse Casamance (Senegal) and one on the Natural Mangrove Park of Cacheu (Guinea Bissau). The preliminary findings of these studies have made the actors involved in wetlands management and conservation eager to further understand the economic valuation concepts and methods that were used.