Taking stock of the empirical evidence on the insurance value of ecosystems

Dallimer, Martin, Martin-Ortega, Julia, Rendon, Olivia, Afionis, Stavros, Bark, Rosalind, Gordon, Iain J., and Paavola, Jouni (2020) Taking stock of the empirical evidence on the insurance value of ecosystems. Ecological Economics, 167. 106451.

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Abstract

Ecosystems can buffer against adverse events and, by so doing, reduce the costs of risk-bearing to society; benefits which have been termed ‘insurance value’. Although the terminology is recent, the concept is older and has its roots in ecological resilience. However, a synthesis of studies through the lens of the insurance value concept is lacking. Here we fill this important knowledge gap by conducting a rapid evidence assessment on how, where and why the insurance value of ecosystems has been measured. The review highlighted the often substantial positive values that were associated with restoration, rehabilitation or avoidance of loss of natural ecosystems. However, many regions, ecosystems and hazards are not widely researched. Most studies focused on forests, agriculture and wetlands, often with an emphasis on habitat restoration to reduce flood risks. Over half the studies provided non-monetary or monetary estimates of value, reporting, for example, improved ecological function, achieved/achievable cost reductions or willingness-to-pay. Nevertheless, the evidence-base remains fragmentary and is characterised by inconsistent reporting of valuation methodologies. This precludes drawing general conclusions. We recommend that future studies of insurance value adopt a common approach to facilitate the development of a more robust evidence-base.

Item ID: 67374
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-6106
Keywords: Ecosystem services, Insurance value, Natural hazards, Rapid evidence assessment, Resilience, Risk
Copyright Information: © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
Funders: ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy (ESRC), European Union Seventh Framework Programme (EU FP7), National Environment Research Council (NERC)
Projects and Grants: ESRC ES/K006576/1, EU FP7 Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 659449, NERC NE/R002681/1
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2021 22:28
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 70%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310399 Ecology not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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