Universiteit Leiden

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The tension between nature conservation and economic valuation of ecosystem services

Promotores: G.R. de Snoo, W.T. de Groot, Co-promotor: C.J.M. Musters

J.F. Admiraal
01 december 2016
Thesis in Leiden Repository

Economic valuation of ecosystem services is a popular yet troubled approach in modern nature conservation. It's effectiveness remains unknown while a lot of criticism is noted in the literature about potential consequences of this approach. This thesis first clarifies the various discourses extant about the topic. Then, it shows how the topic of ecosystem services is replacing calls for nature conservation in policy documents. It investigates two different ways to give ecological knowledge a strong influence in market-based approaches. The first way being the use of portfolio theory and the second way being the use of indicators for conservation success based on ecological science. The thesis finally turns towards the greater challenge of motivating people to protect nature, and argues that economic valuation has only a limited role to play in this endeavor.