New publication from Paul et al in Science Advances: On the functional relationship between biodiversity and economic value

Abstract:

Biodiversity’s contribution to human welfare has become a key argument for maintaining and enhancing biodiversity in managed ecosystems. The functional relationship between biodiversity (b) and economic value (V) is, however, insufficiently understood, despite the premise of a positive-concave bV relationship that dominates scientific and political arenas. Here, we review how individual links between biodiversity, ecosystem functions (F), and services affect resulting bV relationships. Our findings show that bV relationships are more variable, also taking negative-concave/convex or strictly concave and convex forms. This functional form is driven not only by the underlying bF relationship but also by the number and type of ecosystem services and their potential trade-offs considered, the effects of inputs, and the type of utility function used to represent human preferences. Explicitly accounting for these aspects will enhance the substance and coverage of future valuation studies and allow more nuanced conclusions, particularly for managed ecosystems.

Reference:

Paul, C., N. Hanley, S. T. Meyer, C. Furst, W. W. Weisser, and T. Knoke. 2020. On the functional relationship between biodiversity and economic value. Science advances 6:eaax7712. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aax7712


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