A new approach to the problem of overlapping values: a case study in Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Stoeckl, Natalie, Farr, Marina, Larson, Silva, Adams, Vanessa M., Kubiszewski, Ida, Esparon, Michelle, and Costanza, Robert (2014) A new approach to the problem of overlapping values: a case study in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Ecosystem Services, 10. pp. 61-78.

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Abstract

Estimating the value of entire ecosystems in monetary units is difficult because they are complex systems composed of non-linear, interdependent components and the value of the services they produce are interdependent and overlapping. Using the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) as a case study, this paper explores a new 'whole ecosystem' approach to assessing both the importance (to overall quality of life) and the monetary value of various community-defined benefits, some of which align with various ecosystem services. We find that provisioning services are considered, by residents, to be less important to their overall quality of life than other ecosystem services. But our analysis suggests that many community-defined benefits are overlapping. Using statistical techniques to identify and control for these overlapping benefits, we estimate that the collective monetary value of a broad range of services provided by the GBR is likely to be between $15 billion and $20 billion AUS per annum. We acknowledge the limitations of our methods and estimates but show how they highlight the importance of the problem, and open up promising avenues for further research. With further refinement and development, radically different 'whole ecosystem' valuation approaches like these may eventually become viable alternatives to the more common additive approaches.

Item ID: 35986
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2212-0416
Keywords: Great Barrier Reef; ecosystem services; economic valuation; total economic value
Funders: National Environmental Research Program (NERP): Tropical Ecosystems Hub, James Cook University, Charles Darwin University
Projects and Grants: NERP Project 10.2
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 04:10
FoR Codes: 14 ECONOMICS > 1499 Other Economics > 149902 Ecological Economics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 100%
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