[Coral-List] Value of Hawiian Reefs
allison.billiam at gmail.com
Tue Nov 8 13:15:27 EST 2011
Niel Evernden discusses these two valuation approaches, which he calls
"intrinsic" and "instrumental" and concludes that one should be wary of
playing by instrumental rules that may win battles but lose the war. I
suppose his strategy will most often be successful in practice when a price
cannot be assigned to the resource (i.e., it is priceless). For more see:
Evernden, N. (1985). The Natural Alien. Toronto, University of Toronto Press
On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 11:17 AM, Peter Edwards <horlicks_1989 at yahoo.com>wrote:
> Hello Francesca, All,
> As a Marine Scientist turned Environmental/Natural Resource
> Economist I am aware of the philosophical differences (ecological vs
> economics) that this type of study might bring to the surface. I’d like
> to offer a few thoughts and hopefully
> insight on some of the issues raised.
> First of all one could argue that (when dealing with this
> topic) there are two definitions of “Value”
> From an Ecologists perspective – Value is that
> which is worthy of esteem for its own sake; thing or quality having
> Or from an Economists perspective– Value is a fair and
> proper equivalent in money, commodities etc. “Equivalent in money” here
> represents the sum of money that would have
> an equivalent effect on the “welfare, utility, well being (feel-goodness)
> Social scientists (including economists) would argue that value as a
> concept, is anthropogenic in
> nature.. Because as sentient beings people/society
> ascribe(s) their/its own values to things/concepts.
> The economic value of something is a measure of its
> contribution to human well being (welfare). Hence use of this type of
> methodological approach attempt to estimate the economic
> values of natural systems and the contributions that the variety of
> functions and services make to human well being. Therefore, ecosystem
> services cannot be
> defined independently of human values.
> The end goal of ecosystem service valuation is to be able to
> demonstrate the tradeoffs in ecosystem services resulting from policy
> decisions. In some cases the incorporation of a monetary metric into
> analyses or other quantitative or qualitative means of assessing the losses
> and/or gains of ecosystem services is appropriate. The basic premise is,
> if a resource is
> value-less then society will tend to overuse (mis-allocate) said resource..
> With respect to the coral reef study, I will attempt to
> answer some of your questions. Please note I was not a part of this study
> Others can add/edit/correct/refute if they so choose.
> What does it mean?
> That if we find a (long term?) alternative use for these sites worth $40
> billion per year we can feel fine to blow the Hawaiian reefs up? – NO. It
> is unlikely that this course of action (blowing
> up the reefs) would supersede the opportunity costs of keeping the reefs
> healthy and protected. See basic premise
> How is "the
> willingness to pay to protect the coral reef ecosystem for future
> generations" evaluated? – Individual WTP’s are aggregated and extrapolated
> across the wider population based on the random sampling methods used in
> study. It is difficult to say what future generations will use. Typically
> people use discount rates (“interest rates”) to project net present value
> the future. There are ongoing academic arguments
> about what is the correct rate for natural resources such as reefs or the
> of Carbon. In typical benefit cost
> analyses 3% is used as a discount rate.
> I noted there is a
> special category for people considering themselves environmentalists. Why?
> their values taken more or less into account?
> Like for example if I
> was one of those interviewed and I had no money on my account how much
> could I
> have offered maximum to protect the reef?
> Attempted Answer – The parameters (after regression analysis) associated
> with these characteristics are called demand shifters. These individual
> characteristics may cause a shift
> in the demand curve (inward or outward). Sometimes Gender, age, income,
> affiliation etc may influence value (outside of your income). Why is this
> important? This is because
> the area under the demand curve is what is typically estimated as the
> value or “consumer
> surplus”. It is important to take note
> of these characteristics as these variables may have an impact on the
> slope of
> the demand curve. It is also important to capture these differences as the
> data is
> aggregated across the population and should represent the reality that
> some people will
> have more value than others for the same resource.
> I’ll stop here
> But before closing, I will agree that this field young … that is if you
> consider 1947 recent. You may Google “Harold
> Hotelling’s Letter on preserving national parks”. This letter is often
> as the catalyst that spawned this “nascent” field of environmental
> Peter E.T. Edwards
> If you say you can't put a price on nature, then essentially
> you are saying it has no value.
> From: "coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <
> coral-list-request at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Sent: Monday, 7 November 2011, 12:00
> Subject: Coral-List Digest, Vol 39, Issue 8
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> Today's Topics:
> 1. Value of Hawaiian Coral Reefs (Les Kaufman)
> Message: 1
> Date: Sat, 5 Nov 2011 12:50:57 -0400
> From: Les Kaufman <lesk at bu.edu>
> Subject: [Coral-List] Value of Hawaiian Coral Reefs
> To: Coral List <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> Message-ID: <D414E4B0-F850-46F0-879E-CBC1A9A22826 at bu.edu>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
> Dear Francesca (and everybody),
> Ecological and environmental economists have been struggling to find ways
> to explain the real value of nature without trivializing, bastardizing, or
> prostituting things that are important to us, yet very difficult to equate
> with more familiar currencies such as money. Despite our ability to see
> far into the future, most of us rarely do so. Consequently, we respond to
> stimuli that immediately impact us, like the possibility of suddenly
> acquiring, or losing, a lot of money.
> This is especially true of ecosystem services- the essential things for
> life and health that nature provides to us without us lifting a pinkie, but
> that require intact, robust ecosystems to keep flowing. These are the
> things we take for granted, like breathable air and clean water, as well as
> things we pay at least a little bit of attention to, such as the natural
> beauty that supports the tourism industry, all the way to more obviously
> valuable commodities like food, minerals, and fuels. There are several
> classification schemes for ecosystem services, but the Millennium Ecosystem
> Assessment is the one most widely used right now. Check out:
> http://www.pnas.org/content/106/5/1305.short for a short comment on where
> this is heading.
> One way to express the value of nature is in terms of dollars. It is not
> necessarily the best way, but it is the way that the greatest number of
> people understand. There is a lot of baggage associated with it- the
> questions you raise come up all the time, plus "willingness to pay" doesn't
> always mean that when you ask people what they are willing to pay to keep
> something around, that they will actually fork over the money when things
> start hitting the fan.
> If you have a better way of expressing the value of Hawaii's coral reefs-
> or any coral reef- it would be useful to share it. This is a young field,
> and people respond to the strangest things.
> Message: 1
> Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2011 09:40:38 -0700 (PDT)
> From: "frahome at yahoo.com" <frahome at yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] NOAA news release: U.S. residents say
> Hawaii?s coral reef ecosystems worth $33.57 billion per year
> To: "coral-list at coral..aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
> <1320424838.84622.YahooMailNeo at web32502.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
> What does it mean? That if we find a (long term?) alternative use for
> these sites worth $40 billion per year we can feel fine to blow the
> Hawaiian reefs up?
> I am very curious to understand how is "the willingness to pay to protect
> the coral reef ecosystem for future generations" evaluated?
> Like for example if I was one of those interviewed and I had no money on
> my account how much could I have offered maximum to protect the reef?
> I noted there is a special category for people considering themselves
> environmentalists. Why? Are their values taken more or less into account?
> I apologize in advance for not having time to read and understand the full
> Les Kaufman
> Professor of Biology
> Boston University Marine Program
> Senior Marine Scientist
> Conservation International
> lesk at bu.edu
> Coral-List mailing list
> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Is this how science illuminates "reality"? - "the meaning of an episode was
not inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the talk which brought it
out only as a glow brings out a haze."
- narrator's comment about Marlow's tale-telling, in Heart of Darkness
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