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Ecological Economics
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  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0921-8009
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3177 journals]
  • Can upstream ecosystems ensure safe drinking water—Insights from
           Sweden
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Nils Westling, Per M. Stromberg, Ranjula Bali SwainAbstractClean water is not only the product of expensive treatment technology, but also of upstream ecosystems. Yet, the effect of land use on downstream water quality is poorly understood. We investigate the value of ecosystem water purification as an input to the production of drinking water in Sweden. We employ a recently modified empirical approach, complementing ex-ante modelling. We capture plant operator behaviour, rather than assuming rational individuals that value ecosystem services as a factor in the drinking water production function. The GMM technique is applied to estimate the marginal contributions of different land uses to water quality and chemical costs of treatment plants. The analysis is based on upstream land-use data, raw water quality, and chemical costs for a large share of Sweden's municipal surface water treatment plants, for the period 2000 to 2012. Our results show that upstream forests lead to lower levels of E. coli (a pathogen associated with disease outbreaks) in downstream water and indicate the same effect on turbidity (not significant). We also find that turbidity increases treatment costs, but the effect of E. coli remains unclear. Consequently, in addition to water treatment equipment, decision-makers should consider investment in upstream ecosystems.
       
  • Do improved pollination services outweigh farm-economic disadvantages of
           working in small-structured agricultural landscapes' – Development
           and application of a bio-economic model
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Stefan Kirchweger, Yann Clough, Martin Kapfer, Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Jochen KantelhardtAbstractIncreases in the size of agricultural fields, the loss of permanent green field edges and other semi-natural habitats have accompanied the intensification of agriculture, and are still ongoing. From a farm economic perspective, an increase in field size increases efficiency mainly due to cost savings. However, recent evidence suggests that increases in field size might lead to the loss of ecosystem services provided by farmland biodiversity, but this trade-off is rarely considered. Here, we aim to quantify the economic and ecological effects of these changes by developing a bio-economic simulation-based land-use modelling framework based on spatially explicit data from an agricultural region in Germany. The results show a substantial decrease in flower visitation in oilseed rape when field sizes increase and permanent green edges are lost. This also leads to a decrease in pollination from wild bees and affects yields and farm economics. However, this loss in agricultural gross margin is overcompensated by economic gains of field enlargement. We conclude that further, more comprehensive evaluations are required and suggest that maintaining fine-grained agricultural landscapes with permanent field margins in the long term may require incentives to farmers, as well as innovations that allow to farm small fields at lower costs.
       
  • Natural insurance as condition for market insurance: Climate change
           adaptation in agriculture
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Sisse Liv Jørgensen, Mette Termansen, Unai PascualAbstractThis paper focuses on the potential use of insurance as a climate change adaptation mechanism in agriculture. We analyse the attractiveness of a climate risk insurance scheme and the choices farmers face between adaptation via farm management practices and purchase of crop insurance in the market. A choice experiment is used to reveal Danish farmers’ preferences regarding an insurance contract where adoption of land management practices to improve soil sustainability is conditional for obtaining insurance cover in the market. Results indicate that in general arable farmers and farmers with low soil quality who have experienced crop damages in the past are more likely to purchase such conditional insurance. Farmers with good quality soils, who perceive that they have already adapted their practices to climatic risks and who have not experienced losses due to adverse climatic events in the past are less willing to purchase insurance. The paper contributes to the limited knowledge on preferences for climate risk related insurance in agricultural systems in general, and in Europe in particular.
       
  • When do people exploit moral wiggle room' An experimental analysis of
           information avoidance in a market setup
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Katharina Momsen, Markus OhndorfAbstractWe investigate if decision makers avoid information to exploit moral wiggle room in green market settings. We therefore implement a laboratory experiment in which subjects purchase products associated with externalities. In six between-subjects treatments, we alter the availability of information on the externalities, the price of revealing information as well as the nature of the externality, which could either affect another subject or change the amount spent by the experimenters on carbon offsets. We find that subjects do not strategically avoid information when revealing information is costless. When a very small cost of revealing information is introduced, their behavior depends on the relation between prices and externalities. In situations in which it is relatively cheap to have a large impact on the recipient's payoff, subjects avoid information in order to choose selfishly. For other parameterizations, subjects behave either honestly egoistically or altruistically.
       
  • Steffen Lange “Macroeconomics without Growth. Sustainable Economics in
           Neoclassical, Keynesian and Marxian Theories”, Marburg: Metropolis, (583
           pages).
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Ferdinand Wenzlaff
       
  • Understanding the impacts of water scarcity and socio-economic
           demographics on farmer mental health in the Murray-Darling Basin
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Sahar Daghagh Yazd, Sarah Ann Wheeler, Alec ZuoAbstractChanges in climate pose a significant threat to human health, which is not only expected to influence physical health, but also affect mental health. For farming communities that are dependent on ecological and environmental resources for their living, climate variability may significantly influence future farm viability. This study examined whether climatic conditions and water scarcity were associated with worsening farmer (dryland and irrigators) mental health in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Australia. The sample consisted of 2141 observations (for 235 farmers) from a national longitudinal survey across fourteen waves (2001/02 to 2014/15) and was modelled using Correlative Random Effects panel data regression. This time-period included the Millennium Drought, allowing a natural experiment test of the impact of water scarcity on farmer mental health. Key findings were that farmers located in areas that had experienced reduced rainfall, water allocations
       
  • The meaning of poverty matters: Trade-offs in poverty reduction programmes
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Gonzalo Gamboa, Sara Mingorría, Arnim ScheidelAbstractPoverty has many different dimensions, yet few poverty reduction policies take an integrated approach to multidimensional poverty. Many continue to focus predominantly on income and employment issues whereas others address different aspects of poverty separately. In this paper, we illustrate that while such policies may be effective at reaching their objectives individually, they may clash with other dimensions of poverty targeted by other policies. To achieve our aims, we employ a case from rural Guatemala, where a series of development policies have pursued different targets, based on different narratives of poverty reduction. We apply a multidimensional assessment framework and analyze the household typologies of three rural communities to address how these typologies perform in relation to the contrasting goals of different rural-development policies. While for some household types classic indicators such as monetary income and employment did increase, a series of further issues targeted by other policies, such as self-sufficiency, disposable time for community activities, or access to land, worsened. Hence, the problem of focusing predominantly on one dimension is not only that it provides an incomplete picture: the main problem is rather that it can obscure the creation of new types of poverty.
       
  • The role of social influence in crop residue management: Evidence from
           Northern India
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Adrian A. Lopes, Ajalavat Viriyavipart, Dina TasneemAbstractBackgroundPostharvest crop residue burning, which is associated with negative environmental and health outcomes, has become a major public policy concern in developing countries. We use original survey data from 1230 rice farmers in Northern India to analyze the factors influencing crop residue management practices. Results indicate that herd behavior is a significant determinant of residue burning, wherein a farmer is socially influenced to choose burning as the residue management technique because he believes all other farmers commonly practice it. We find that farmers who perceive residue burning as diminishing soil quality are far less likely to do so; however, their awareness of its adverse environmental effects does not lower the choice to burn. We infer that farmers account for private costs and benefits of burning but ignore its external social costs. We also control for socio-economic factors and find that farmer’s wealth increases the likelihood of residue burning. Identifying the behavioral factors behind residue burning, which capture underlying aspects of social influence and herd behavior is useful for policy aimed at reducing this public health hazard.
       
  • Strategic behavior and dynamic externalities in commercial fisheries
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Anna A. Klis, Richard T. MelstromAbstractThis paper uses game theory to analyze commercial fishers’ willingness to practice conservation to recover a depleted fishery. We compare a game in which players choose their conservation effort simultaneously to a game in which there is a leader and a follower. We show that because the players ignore the effect of their conservation effort on the other player's expected benefits, their collective effort is suboptimal. When the players choose their effort sequentially, the leader puts less effort in conservation, reducing the likelihood of recovery and collective welfare.
       
  • Socially optimal forest management and biodiversity conservation in
           temperate forests under climate change
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Andrey Lessa Derci Augustynczik, Martin Gutsch, Marco Basile, Felicitas Suckow, Petra Lasch, Rasoul Yousefpour, Marc HanewinkelAbstractForest biodiversity underpins social welfare by preserving ecosystem multifunctionality and the provision of ecosystem goods and services. Still, the social value of biodiversity is not adequately incorporated into forest management and decision support models. This study proposes a novel approach for defining socially optimal biodiversity levels, wood supply and taxation schemes under climate change. We developed a partial equilibrium model to maximize consumers’ and producers’ surplus until the end of the century, including climate change impacts as productivity shocks in a coupled ecological-economic framework. In our model, we consider a first-best and a second-best taxation scheme to internalize the value of forest biodiversity into forest planning. The framework developed here was applied to a temperate forest landscape in southwestern Germany, where biodiversity has a high social value. Our results indicate an increasing consumption of wood and supply of biodiversity (up to 38.4 %) until the end of the century. Moreover, climate change may affect forest productivity, optimal harvesting rates and taxation schemes. Crucially, current management is unable to capture the adequate social value of biodiversity and is inefficient under climate change. Policy mechanisms are therefore required to correct biodiversity provision in temperate forest landscapes.
       
  • Mechanisms behind concurrent payments for ecosystem services in a Chinese
           nature reserve
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Alexandra Yost, Li An, Richard Bilsborrow, Lei Shi, Xiaodong Chen, Shuang Yang, Weiyong ZhangAbstractPayments for Ecosystem Services (PES) seek to protect important ecosystems and related ecosystem services while increasing (or maintaining) human wellbeing by paying resource users directly to change their land and resource use behavior. To increase understanding of socio-economic aspects of PES, this study collected data from households to identify variables that may influence Chinese villagers’ decisions to enroll land in a PES program, the Grain-to-Green Program (GTGP), in the context of simultaneous participation in another PES, the Forest Ecological Benefit Compensation Fund (FEBC). Previous studies identified a baseline of relevant variables, which we use as control variables. Secondary to this, we explore how hypothetical post-participation land use options might promote or deter GTGP participation. In addition to supporting previous findings regarding the role of control variables, our results generated through regression analysis suggest a negative relationship between GTGP enrollment and FEBC participation. We find that villagers view retiring land from crops to plant ecological trees through GTGP as undesirable under current compensation scenarios. Through exploring latent mechanisms underlying PES enrollment in concurrent PES programs, this research provides new insight about PES effectiveness, as well as bases for policy extension, with lessons for design and implementation of PES in China and globally.
       
  • Norms and the willingness to pay for coastal ecosystem restoration: A case
           of the Tokyo Bay intertidal flats
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Kanae Tokunaga, Hiroaki Sugino, Hideaki Nomura, Yutaka MichidaAbstractTokyo Bay's ecosystem has severely deteriorated due to land reclamation projects, which gradually claimed over 95% of the intertidal flats in the bay, beginning in the early 20th century. We conducted a contingent valuation study to examine the habitat protection and recreational value of intertidal flats in Tokyo Bay, Japan. To understand the motivations behind valuation responses, we examined respondents' latent ecosystem preferences and norms specific to Tokyo Bay's ecosystem by using factor analysis and cluster analysis. Our approach enables us to quantify the differences in motivations for ecosystem service restoration and relate them to the valuation of the ecosystem restoration project. We found that differences in norms, described by an awareness of the problem, an awareness of personal responsibility and an awareness of personal cost, resulted in significantly different valuations of the ecosystem. The scenario that ensured the protection of the natural habitat was preferred to the scenario that allowed for recreational use.
       
  • Hidden linkages between resources and economy: A “Beyond-GDP” approach
           using alternative welfare indicators
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Panos Kalimeris, Kostas Bithas, Clive Richardson, Peter NijkampAbstractTaking GDP as the standard economic indicator for economic welfare, recent Resources-Economy studies indicate the “dematerialization” of the economy, the so-called decoupling effect. This conclusion seems to alleviate concerns over resource scarcity and limits to growth, and feeds optimism for green growth and sustainability prospects. However, the validity of GDP as the sole and unambiguous measure of the ultimate outcome of the economy has been severely disputed. There is nowadays increasing interest in broader welfare measurements that capture more aspects of economic output and hence constitute better approximations of well-being. The present paper provides an overview of the above discussion and sets out to explore the relevance of three alternative welfare indicators – the Human Development Index (HDI), the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) and the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) – as a basis for evaluating the dependency of welfare and its major engine, the economy, on natural resources. Increasing welfare appears to require a disproportionate use of resources. Strong and increasing dependency on resources at the global level and in giant countries such as China and India may have serious implications for current sustainability policies and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
       
  • Dialogues on nature, class and gender: Revisiting socio-ecological
           reproduction in past organic advanced agriculture (Sentmenat, Catalonia,
           1850)
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): I. Marco, R. Padró, E. TelloAbstractThe concept of socio-ecological reproduction allows linking some fundamental approaches and methods of Ecological, Feminist and Sraffian Economics. By accounting reproductive flows we highlight the material and time efforts required to maintain ecological funds (i.e. soil fertility and livestock) and social funds (i.e. labour force) of farm systems, as well as the role of social appropriation of the surplus that went beyond them in preindustrial class structures. Through the methodology proposed to estimate time, energy, nutrients and cash balances at household level we can infer relevant insights in terms of social organisation of labour and social distribution of produce in past organic advanced agricultures. Results show that the productive capacity of farmland and labour were quite similar across farms, while the farmland hoarding exerted by a wealthier ruling class defined the unequal distribution of produce. The match between subsistence needs and wages shows that nearly the whole potential surplus per labour unit was extracted. Dependence on reproducible funds implied the reinvestment of large amounts of renewable flows that constrained the amount of surplus appropriable. Finally, we deem that technical change and increase of total produce along socio-ecological transitions might have been affected by the social class structure of preindustrial societies.
       
  • Predicting fires for policy making: Improving accuracy of fire brigade
           allocation in the Brazilian Amazon
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Thiago Fonseca Morello, Rossano Marchetti Ramos, Liana O. Anderson, Nathan Owen, Thais Michele Rosan, Lara SteilAbstractThe positioning of federal fire brigades in the Brazilian Amazon is based on an oversimplified prediction of fire occurrences, where inaccuracies can affect the policy's efficiency. To mitigate this issue, this paper attempts to improve fire prediction. Firstly, a panel dataset was built at municipal level from socioeconomic and environmental data. The dataset is unparalleled in both the number of variables (48) and in geographical (whole Amazon) and temporal breadth (2008 to 2014). Secondly, econometric models were estimated to predict fire occurrences with high accuracy and to infer statistically significant predictors of fire. The best predictions were achieved by accounting for observed and unobserved time-invariant predictors and also for spatial dependence. The most accurate model predicted the top 20% municipal fire counts with 76% success rate. It was over twice as accurate in identifying priority municipalities as the current fire brigade allocation procedure. Of the 47 potential predictors, deforestation, forest degradation, primary forest, GDP, indigenous and protected areas, climate and soil proved statistically significant. Conclusively, the current criteria for allocating fire brigades should be expanded to account for (i) socioeconomic and environmental predictors, (ii) time-invariant unobservables and (iii) spatial autocorrelation on fires.
       
  • Biodiversity offsets and payments for environmental services: Clarifying
           the family ties
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Anne-Charlotte Vaissière, Fabien Quétier, Coralie Calvet, Harold Levrel, Sven WunderAbstractBiodiversity Offsets (BO) and Payments for Environmental Services (PES) are sometimes used interchangeably to characterize innovative economic tools to conserve or restore biodiversity, ecosystems, or their services. We assume that a confusion between PES and BO can have negative implications for biodiversity conservation. In this paper, we argue that these two tools follow different targets and have different founding principles, and thus, their basic mode of functioning would only coincide under special circumstances and institutional contexts. Here, we propose a new definition of BO, delimiting them more clearly from PES, and use practical examples to underscore conceptual differences. Both tools require specific policy framework conditions, in terms of rights, responsibilities, and enforcement. If unmet, however, the implications for biodiversity conservation outcomes are stronger for BO than for PES since BO are explicitly linked to biodiversity losses, while PES typically are not. PES experiences can certainly inform BO implementation vis-à-vis contract design and enforcement, but these PES lessons need to be enacted vis-à-vis BO specific requirements, in order not to underestimate generic risks in their implementation: if a PES scheme fails, payments can be stopped; if a BO fails, biodiversity losses remain.
       
  • Measuring the value of ecosystem-based fishery management using financial
           portfolio theory
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Itsaso Carmona, Alberto Ansuategi, José Manuel Chamorro, Marta Escapa, María Carmen Gallastegui, Arantza Murillas, Raúl PrellezoAbstractWe highlight the potential benefits of adopting Ecosystem-based Fishery Management (EBFM). We compare the EBFM implementation with the more traditional single-stock approach. We show the contribution of the portfolio theory to the EBFM, which can be achieved by selecting an optimal portfolio to maximise the average revenues and minimise the variance. We use this approach to construct two frontiers: the ecosystem efficient frontier, which considers stock interactions (the variance-covariance matrix), and the stock efficient frontier, only considering individual stock variances.We also define two risk gaps. The first gap shows the reduction in the standard deviation per unit of revenue that the fleet could have achieved if they had decided to use the optimal portfolio of the stock frontier instead of the historical portfolio. The second gap reflects the reduction in the standard deviation per unit of revenue when the management moves from the stock frontier to the ecosystem frontier portfolio.This approach is adapted to the Basque inshore fleet. According to our results, taking the single-stock approach as the benchmark, the EBFM would obtain the same historical revenue while reducing the risk by 23%. Alternatively, allowing the same level of risk, it could achieve a 21% increase in revenues.
       
  • How to track corporations across space and time
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Benjamin Goldstein, Joshua P. NewellAbstractGlobalization processes lead to supply chains that sprawl across space and time. Where and how products are produced and consumed shape the environmental and social conditions of regions, far and wide. Distance, fluidity, and complexity in supply chains mask their uneven impacts. Researchers have prioritized the study of ‘sectors’ (e.g. automobile manufacturing, garment production) over specific corporations (e.g. Toyota, Nike), even though these corporations `move and shape` the global economy. Research by NGOs reveals the importance of focusing on individual corporations to highlight unsustainable production practices and to foster transparency and accountability. This paper introduces a methodological framework, “TRAcking Corporations Across Space and Time” (TRACAST), to tell the ‘story’ behind a product by systematically linking companies across a supply chain and identifying environmental and social hotspots and key nodes of governance. TRACAST combines in-situ (e.g. interviews, surveys, fieldwork) and ex-situ (e.g. document analysis, mining of trade data) approaches. To illustrate its utility, we link Walmart, Lowe’s, and The Home Depot in the United States to Russian logging companies via Chinese flooring manufacturers. TRACAST enables scholars studying the global flows of goods to engage deeply with questions related to specific corporations and how they affect people and the planet.
       
  • Degrowth and the State
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Giacomo D’Alisa, Giorgos KallisAbstractThis paper addresses a gap in degrowth scholarship: the lack of a theory of the state. Those who write about degrowth advocate radical policy and social change, but have no model to explain how, why and under what conditions such change could come about and what role the state would play in it. This is because they have no theory of what the state is, or when and why it changes. We review for the first time the Anglophone and Francophone literatures on state and degrowth and find both wanting. We propose a Gramscian theory of the state suitable for thinking about degrowth and show with the example of strategizing for a maximum income policy how this suits the degrowth literature’s emphasis on a combination of grassroots and institutional actions.
       
  • A tale of three paradigms: Realising the revolutionary potential of
           ecological economics
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Clive L. SpashAbstractEcological economics has ontological foundations that inform it as a paradigm both biophysically and socially. It stands in strong opposition to mainstream thought on the operations of the economy and society. The core arguments deconstruct and oppose both growth and price-making market paradigms. However, in contradiction of these theoretical foundations, ecological economists can be found who call upon neoclassical economic theory as insightful, price-making and capitalist markets as socially justified means of allocation and economic growth as achieving progress and development. The more radical steady-state and post-growth/degrowth movements are shown to include confused and conflicted stances in relation to the mainstream hegemonic paradigms. Ecological economics personally challenges those trained in mainstream theory to move beyond their orthodox education and leave behind the flawed theories and concepts that contribute to supporting systems that create social, ecological and economic crises. This paper makes explicit the paradigmatic struggle of the past thirty years and the need to wipe away mainstream apologetics, pragmatic conformity and ill-conceived postmodern pluralism. It details the core paradigmatic conflict and specifies the alternative social ecological economic paradigm along with a new research agenda.
       
  • Southern Responses to Fair Trade Gold: Cooperation, Complaint,
           Competition, Supplementation
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Kristin Sippl
       
  • Economics for the future – Beyond the superorganism
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): N.J. Hagens
       
  • Ecological economics in the age of fear
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Roldan Muradian, Unai PascualAbstractFar right political movements are rising and seizing power in many influential countries, affecting not only the governance of democratic regimes but also the science-policy relationship and the global environmental agenda. Here we disentangle the roots of such ‘far right insurgency’ and discuss the implications for ecological economics as a field. We propose that in order to be able to understand and address this phenomenon, ecological economists should devote attention to analyse how the evolution of value systems (including environmental values) is related to the profile and governance of contemporary global capitalism. By means of developing a relevant research agenda, ecological economics could contribute to support academically the creation of a ‘politics of hope’, in response to the ‘politics of fear’ on which emerging authoritarian regimes rely.
       
  • Beyond cost and carbon: The multidimensional co-benefits of low carbon
           transitions in Europe
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Benjamin K. Sovacool, Mari Martiskainen, Andrew Hook, Lucy BakerAbstractThe paper explores the myriad potential benefits of four low-carbon transitions beyond those in the environmental or economic domain. Drawn from a rich set of original mixed methods data—across expert interviews, focus groups, and public internet forums—we examine the presumed multidimensional, qualitative co-benefits to nuclear power in France, solar photovoltaics in Germany, electric vehicles in Norway, and smart meters in Great Britain. We catalogue 128 identified prospective co-benefits to these four European low-carbon transitions, 30 for nuclear power, 30 for solar photovoltaic panels, 26 for electric vehicles and 42 for smart meters. Tellingly, 37 of these collective benefits are identified as economic and 14 environmental, but the remaining ones illustrate a broader spectrum of technical benefits (31 in total), social benefits (30 in total) and political benefits (16 in total). After presenting this body of evidence, the paper then discusses these benefits more deeply in terms of complementarity, temporality, scale, actors, and incumbency. We conclude with insights for energy and climate research and policy more broadly.
       
  • Payments for ecosystem services or collective stewardship of mother
           earth' Applying deliberative valuation in an indigenous community in
           Colombia
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Bosco Lliso, Unai Pascual, Stefanie Engel, Petr MarielAbstractThe literature on payments for ecosystem services (PES) applied in regions where indigenous peoples are key social actors has not cast much light on their preferences regarding the framing and design features that such economic incentives should have to ensure their effectiveness. Thus, it is key to find appropriate approaches that can be used to elicit the preferences of indigenous peoples regarding PES design. Here we provide new insights regarding the use of deliberative valuation to elicit of the preferences of an indigenous community from Colombia towards the design of a PES program. A deliberative choice experiment is applied that sheds light on why indigenous people’s perspectives need to be taken into account if PES are to be effective and fair. We find that participants from the indigenous community value highly equity considerations that go beyond the monetary benefit that PES provide, such as being able to meaningfully participate in the design of PES or deciding the fairest way to distribute payments.
       
  • Productive ecosystem services and collective management: Lessons from a
           realistic landscape model
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Francois Bareille, Hugues Boussard, Claudine ThenailAbstractPrevious works based on the simulation of stylized landscapes with homogeneous farms have concluded that farmers would benefit from the coordinated landscape-scale management of ecosystem services. Here, we examine such benefits in a realistic landscape (Brittany, France), with diversely fragmented farm territories and locally validated field-based ecological functions (the abundance of a generalist pest-predatory insect). We test whether such properties modulate the previous results by simulating several management strategies of biological control with an agronomic-ecological-economic landscape model. We find that, if landscape-scale management improves the collective benefits, some farmers lose by collaborating. Due to the heterogeneity of farms, the stability of the collective action is rarely satisfied at the landscape scale: the probability that the collective management of productive ecosystem services occurs is 15% in our case.
       
  • Self-financed water bank for resource reallocation to the environment and
           within the agricultural sector
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Carlos Gutiérrez-Martín, José A. Gómez-Limón, Nazaret M. Montilla-LópezAbstractIn closed river basins, economic activities commonly threaten instream flows, especially during drought episodes. In such situations, a suitable policy option is to recover water for the environment by purchasing water allocations from farmers through a water bank. However, the purchase of temporary water rights strongly depends on the public budget available for this purpose. We propose a self-financed water bank with the twofold objective of reallocating water within the agricultural sector and recovering a share of the purchased water for the environment. The main feature of this water bank is that it will operate in a monopsony-monopoly setting, using its market power to recover water for environmental purposes, and working with a balanced budget (expenditure on purchases will equal revenues from sales). A mathematical programming model is developed to simulate the potential performance of the proposed water bank in the Guadalquivir River Basin (southern Spain), considering society’s demand for environmental water and different water scarcity scenarios. Results show that a maximum of between 5.8% and 10.4% of total water availability can be recovered for the environment, depending on the severity of the drought, while total economic efficiency is increased, yielding a beneficial result for farmers and society.
       
  • Benefits of community fisheries management to individual households in the
           floodplains of the Amazon River in Brazil
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Stella Zucchetti Schons, Gregory Amacher, Kelly Cobourn, Caroline ArantesAbstractWe study the incentives of households in the floodplain of the Amazon River (várzea) to comply with community fisheries management efforts. The local manifestation of fisheries management in the study region, fishing accords are community-level agreements that emerged starting in the 1980s in response to increased fishing pressure and fisheries stock depletion. We examine empirically the effects of fishing accords enforcement efforts on individual household time savings. The amount of time savings represents an incentive for, and a predictor of, continued participation in enforcing fishing accords. We quantify the time savings associated with the enforcement of accords by estimating a system of simultaneous factor demand equations that account for different periods in the flood regime of the Amazon River. We find that, in the short run, there is a cost to households from enforcing fishing accords. In the long term, however, the enforcement effort employed generates substantial time savings in fishing that frees scarce time to be allocated to other household activities, such as agriculture and cattle grazing.
       
  • Valuation of marine plastic pollution in the European Arctic: Applying an
           integrated choice and latent variable model to contingent valuation
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Tenaw G. Abate, Tobias Börger, Margrethe Aanesen, Jannike Falk-Andersson, Kayleigh J. Wyles, Nicola BeaumontAbstractDespite its remoteness, marine plastic pollution is a significant environmental problem in the Arctic. In Svalbard, for example, plastics are found on the shorelines, in the water column, on the ocean floor and in the ice. Organisms have been observed to be entangled in nets and ingestion of plastics has been documented in a range of organisms. Notably almost all Arctic bird species have been found to have ingested plastic, with Northern fulmars being particularly affected, with 89 % of samples recorded as having ingested plastic. Identification and valuation of ecosystem services affected by marine plastic pollution can provide input for decision makers in evaluating and comparing management policies concerning this unique environment. This study employs the contingent valuation method (CVM) for eliciting the willingness to pay (WTP) of Norwegian households for reducing marine plastic pollution around the archipelago of Svalbard. An Integrated Choice and Latent Variable model (ICLV) is employed to explore attitudinal determinants of WTP. We find an average WTP for an initiative to reduce marine plastics of NOK 5,485 (USD 642) per household per year. The ICLV results reveal that people who are relatively more concerned about marine plastic pollution and who deem the proposed initiative effective are willing to pay more (up to 85 % and 50 %, respectively). The use of ICLV models in CVM and recommendations for future research are discussed.
       
  • Managing conflicts between local land use and the protection of the
           Ethiopian wolf: Residents’ preferences for conservation program design
           features
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Tafesse Kefyalew Estifanos, Maksym Polyakov, Ram Pandit, Atakelty Hailu, Michael BurtonAbstractConflict over land use is one of the challenges faced by large carnivore conservation programs in human-disturbed landscapes. Designing effective conservation strategies requires an understanding of the socioecological context and people’s preferences towards conservation programs. This study investigates preferences of rural residents for management options defined by conservation program attributes to protect the endangered Ethiopian wolf, Canis simensis, in the Bale Mountains National Park of Ethiopia. The conservation program attributes examined include population targets for the Ethiopian wolf, increases in the size of the protected habitat area, monitoring outposts, local participation in monitoring, and provision of financial incentives to the local residents. Using a scale extended latent class model, we analyse choice experiment data collected from households living inside, adjacent to and outside the park. We find that preferences for the conservation programs are heterogeneous. Proximity to the park and park associated livelihoods influence residents’ preference for the conservation programs. A significant proportion of residents, predominantly agro-pastoralists, prefer increases in the population of the Ethiopian wolf and receiving financial incentives from wolf-related tourism. Addressing local livelihood interests, and promoting alternative livestock management strategies among rural residents, would help ensure tolerance to and the recovery of the wolf population.
       
  • Economic valuation of green and blue nature in cities: A meta-analysis
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Marija Bockarjova, Wouter J.W. Botzen, Mark J. KoetseAbstractThere is an increased interest in applying nature for addressing various urban challenges, such as those related to air pollution, climate change, and health, but the economic value of urban nature is not always well recognized. In this study we present a meta-analysis of a rapidly expanding literature that applied stated preference valuation methods to value green and blue urban nature in a variety of contexts. We estimate value transfer functions based on 60 primary studies that elicited urban nature values from in total more than 41,000 respondents worldwide. Moreover, we obtain insights into the main determinants of values of urban nature, in terms of study and methodological characteristics, types of nature, and ecosystem services. For example, using global and European value functions, estimates of the average value of an urban park vary between 12,000USD and 33,100USD, respectively, while estimates of the average value of urban forest vary between 3,000USD and 2,250USD, respectively. We apply these value transfer functions to natural interventions in several cities in Europe, illustrating how these functions can be used for estimating the value of specific natural areas in a variety of urban settings.
       
  • Hidden cost of conservation: A demonstration using losses from
           human-wildlife conflicts under a payments for ecosystem services program
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Hongbo Yang, Frank Lupi, Jindong Zhang, Jianguo LiuAbstractAs global efforts to protect ecosystems expand, there is increasing concern about conservation costs borne by rural communities. To date, these costs have often been narrowly estimated in terms of foregone livelihood opportunities directly caused by conservation, while unintended human burdens that accrue with ecological gains from conservation are often ignored. As a first attempt to quantify this previously hidden cost, we estimated the impact of converting cropland to forest under one of the world’s largest conservation policies, China’s Grain-to-Green Program (GTGP), on crop raiding in a demonstration site using the matching approach. We found that GTGP afforestation was responsible for 64 % of the crop damage by wildlife on remaining cropland, a cost worth 27 % of GTGP’s total payment to farmers. Our study highlights that the conservation cost to communities through influencing human-wildlife conflicts can be substantial, which should be quantified and considered in global conservation efforts to avoid unintended burdens on rural communities.
       
  • Incorporating the insurance value of peri-urban ecosystem services into
           natural hazard policies and insurance products: Insights from Mexico
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Gloria Soto-Montes-de-Oca, Rosalind Bark, Salomón González-ArellanoAbstractUnderstanding how to adapt to increasing risk under climate change is essential for governments wishing to mitigate harms and manage insurance and disaster assistance costs. An approach that values the public good of hazard mitigation provisioned by natural ecosystems could also incentivise government, beneficiaries and insurance companies to share responsibility and funding for targeted conservation and restoration. To illuminate this concept of the insurance value of ecosystems, it is important to map the relationship between the area(s) that benefit from and provide regulating ecosystem services and to identify what determines the level of protection. In the case of flood control regulation that benefits at-risk urban areas, upstream or inland peri-urban areas are key. We present steps to operationalise the insurance value in policy using spatial indicators of peri-urban biodiversity and vegetation and soil health for four Mexican cities. For Mexico City only, we identify at-risk areas and characterise upstream peri-urban areas and find this insurance value is already diminished. Combining spatial analysis with a damage cost function we estimate the expected damage costs of different flood events and the monetary value of enhancing this insurance value. This estimate could be compared to other policy interventions and integrated into hazard insurance.
       
  • Is there a link between air pollution and impaired memory' Evidence on
           34,000 english citizens
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Nattavudh Powdthavee, Andrew J. OswaldAbstractIt is known that people feel less happy in areas with higher levels of nitrogen dioxide NO2 (MacKerron and Mourato, 2009). What else might air pollution do to human wellbeing' This paper uses data on a standardized word-recall test that was done in the year 2011 by 34,000 randomly sampled English citizens across 318 geographical areas. We find that human memory is worse in areas where NO2 and PM10 levels are greater. The paper provides both (i) OLS results and (ii) instrumental-variable estimates that exploit the direction of the prevailing westerly wind and levels of population density. Although caution is always advisable on causal interpretation, these results are concerning and are consistent with laboratory studies of rats and other non-human animals. Our estimates suggest that the difference in memory quality between England’s cleanest and most-polluted areas is equivalent to the loss of memory from 10 extra years of ageing.
       
  • Population growth and land development: Investigating the bi-directional
           interactions
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Qingmeng Tong, Feng QiuAbstractThis study explores the two-way interactions to gain an in-depth understanding of the impact of population growth on development expansion and vice versa. The empirical investigation adopts a spatial econometric approach which allows for spatial interactions and the decomposition of total marginal effects into own-area and spatial spillover effects. Furthermore, the estimation method overcomes the endogeneity biases due to reverse causality and the incorporation of spatial components. Some key results are (1) Significant spatial interactions exist in land development and population growth; (2) Population growth has promoted land development in local and adjacent areas, with a cumulative impact on neighboring areas greater than local impact. (3) The expansion of land development has led to a growth of the local population. On the other hand, it has led to a decline in the population of the nearby areas (i.e., own and spillover effects are in the opposite directions). Besides, our results indicate that land development in urban areas has attracted suburban and rural residents to relocate to cities and towns. Improving employment opportunities and transportation systems in major urban areas may be negatively associated with the economic development of surrounding rural and suburban areas.
       
  • Institutions for sustainability—Towards an expanded research program
           for ecological economics
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 168Author(s): Arild VatnAbstractEcological economists are engaged in developing foundations for a sustainable future. To further develop our ability to deliver, I propose that we expand our analyses by a) drawing more on institutional theory and b) include also political processes in our research. The present political-economic system is unable to ensure sustainable futures. The paper argues that the root of the problem lies in its institutional structures. I illustrate possible changes to these that could take societies onto a sustainable development path. Focus here is on creating institutions able to strengthen the role of the future in decision-making. Here I focus on both political and economic institutions, illustrating how a change in these could ensure sustainability. I also discuss changes in environmental regulation strategies. The analyses of different options are used to illustrate what kind of studies are needed to advance sustainability. They form the basis for specifying directions that ecological economics could take to further support a necessary societal transformation process.
       
  • Assessing the dynamics of natural capital on farms: A soil natural capital
           indicator
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 168Author(s): M.A. Samad Azad, Tihomir AncevAbstractEfficient management of natural resources and environmental assets requires adequate assessment of natural capital on farms. Conceptual frameworks and practical measurement techniques to assess the state of natural capital assets and ecosystem services on farms are not readily available. In this paper, we propose a natural capital adjusted productivity and efficiency technique that can be used in effectively measuring the dynamics of natural capital on farms. This on-farm natural capital indicator is constructed based on the directional distance functions approach. As an empirical application, this newly devised indicator is applied to determine how soil natural capital in farm production systems changes over time. Findings from this study will aid decision making to support maintaining higher farm productivity growth in agriculture and achieving environmental sustainability.
       
  • The art of co-creation: An intervention in the philosophy of ecological
           economics
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Carsten Herrmann-PillathAbstractToday, the status of science in society is increasingly contested. One reason is immanent to science: Facing hypercomplex systems and ‘wicked problems’, science cannot provide an unequivocal and binding basis for action and policy design. This problem is especially pronounced in systemic contexts in which epistemic subjects and objects are entangled in a co-evolutionary relationship, as in the economy, which is the core driver of climate change. I argue that in these contexts, ‘art’ becomes an epistemic mode on equal status with ‘science’ conventionally understood: Art is the epistemic mode of co-creation. This argument builds on the philosophy of post-Kantian German idealism and its intellectual metamorphoses, such as in American pragmatism. I discuss the essentials of this view, present examples from the field of Ecological economics and draw practical conclusions for method.
       
  • Illumination as a material service: A comparison between Ancient Rome and
           early 19th century London
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Kai Whiting, Luis Gabriel Carmona, Lina Brand-Correa, Edward SimpsonAbstractSpecific combinations of energy flows, material flows and stocks are responsible for those services that support societal function and development. In this paper, we develop the concept and accounting method for material services, which we define as “those functions that materials contribute to personal or societal activity with the purpose of obtaining or facilitating desired end goals or states, regardless of whether or not a material flow or stock is supplied by the market”. In this respect, material services are an intermediate step that incorporates stock to bridge the gap between resource consumption, accumulation and aspects of wellbeing. We provide a material service case study, which identifies the level of lighting experienced by urban Ancient Romans relative to that enjoyed by inhabitants of 1820s London (the Georgians). Our results show that the average Roman experienced 41,102 lm-hour/year, which is more lighting than the Georgian value per capita (at 35,698 lm-hour/year). In terms of fuel consumption, Georgians were four times more efficient than their Roman counterparts, but there was a trade-off between materials and energy, given that stock efficiency was 53 times lower than that of the Romans. This trend of improving fuel efficiency at the expense of materials appears to have continued into the 21st century, which holds important implications for sustainable development. Further research needs to be undertaken to ascertain whether this holds true for other material services such as heating, transport and shelter.
       
  • Financing coastal resilience by combining nature-based risk reduction with
           insurance
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Borja G. Reguero, Michael W. Beck, David Schmid, Daniel Stadtmüller, Justus Raepple, Stefan Schüssele, Kerstin PfliegnerAbstractThe increasing impacts of climate hazards combined with the loss of coastal habitats require urgent solutions to manage risk. Storm losses continue to grow and much of them are uninsured. These losses represent an increasing burden to individuals, businesses, and can jeopardize national development goals. Pre-hazard mitigation is cost effective, but both the public and private sector struggle to finance up-front investments in it. This article explores a resilience solution that combines risk transfer (e.g., insurance) with risk reduction (e.g., hazard mitigation), which have often been treated as two separate mechanisms for disaster risk management. The combined mechanism could help align environmental and risk management goals and create opportunities for public and private investment in nature-based projects. We assessed this resilience insurance with hypothetical cases for coral reef restoration. Under conservative assumptions, 44% of the initial reef restoration costs would be covered just by insurance premium reductions in the first 5 years, with benefits amounting>6 times the total costs over 25 years. We also test the sensitivity to key factors such as project cost, risk reduction potential, insurance structure, economic exposure and discount rates. The resilience insurance mechanism is applicable to many coastlines and can help finance nature-based adaptation.
       
  • Climate change: Personal responsibility and energy saving
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): David Boto-García, Alessandro BucciolAbstractWe study at the individual level the connection between actions to reduce energy consumption and beliefs about the personal responsibility for climate change mitigation. Also examined is the role of human values and differences between countries in shaping beliefs and actions. Using data from 23 (mostly) European countries, we find large heterogeneity in both beliefs and actions, with wealthy countries more likely to be concerned about the environment. Personal responsibility and efforts to save energy are positively but weakly related. Regarding human values, self-transcendence and openness are positively associated with responsibility, while self-enhancement and conservation are negatively correlated. Values are less connected to energy saving, with a relationship that is positive with conservation and negative with self-enhancement.
       
  • The Threat of Rent Extraction in a Resource-constrained Future
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Beth StratfordAbstractEcological economists aim to transform our economic institutions so that society can flourish within planetary boundaries. The central message of this article is that private rent extraction forms a key barrier to the realisation of that goal.I define rent as an economic reward which is sustained through control of assets that cannot be quickly and widely replicated, and which exceeds proportionate compensation for the labour of the recipient. I argue that unless we close opportunities for rent extraction, and socialise unavoidable rents, our governments will be compelled to pursue output growth, regardless of its environmental consequences, in order to prevent spiralling inequality and unemployment.The positive proposition in this article is that the concept of rent can help us to identify, and build democratic support for, the institutional transformations necessary to prepare for a resource-constrained future. Measures to reduce and redistribute rentier power could be emancipatory for the poorest in society, whilst making more feasible many proposals that have been advocated already in this journal, including reduced working hours and resource caps.By contrast, if environmental protections are introduced before opportunities for private rent extraction are closed, we could see intensified rent-seeking, asset price bubbles, poverty and economic insecurity.
       
  • French attitudes on climate change, carbon taxation and other climate
           policies
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Thomas Douenne, Adrien FabreAbstractThis paper aims to assess the prospects for French climate policies after the Yellow Vests crisis halted the planned increase in the carbon tax. From a large representative survey, we elicit knowledge, perceptions and values over climate change, we examine opinions relative to carbon taxation, and we assess support for other climate policies. Specific attention is given to the link between perceptions of climate change and attitudes towards policies. The paper also studies in detail the determinants of attitudes in terms of political and socio-demographic variables. Among many results, we find limited knowledge but high concern for climate change. We also document a large rejection of the carbon tax but majority support for stricter norms and green investments, and reveal the rationales behind these preferences. Our study entails policy recommendations, such as an information campaign on climate change. Indeed, we find that climate awareness increases support for climate policies but no evidence for the formation of opinions through partisan cues as in the US, suggesting that better access to science could foster support for climate policies.
       
  • Estimating inter-regional payments for ecosystem services: Taking
           China’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region as an example
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 168Author(s): Yongsheng Lin, Zhanfeng Dong, Wei Zhang, Hongyu ZhangAbstractThe inter-regional payments for ecosystem services (PES) is an important policy to promote regional ecological and environmental cooperation. However, the existing inter-regional PES standard in China may underestimate the value of ecosystem services and omit the value of transferred pollutants due to inter-regional trade. A reasonable framework of inter-regional PES standards is necessary for the policymakers, especially in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region with the most serious environmental problem in China. This paper employed the method of environmental impact evaluation and multi-regional input-output model (MRIO) to build a framework of inter-regional PES estimation, which both contained the regional spillover value of ecosystem services and the regional transfer value of pollutants. Finally, we estimate the amount of inter-regional payment for ecosystem services within BTH region. The results indicated that the PES standards within BTH region were 13.8 billion yuan and 19.2 billion yuan from Beijing, Tianjin to Hebei province in 2012, which accounted for 0.77 % and 1.49 % of their GDP in 2012. These PES standards are effective for regional ecological and environmental cooperation within BTH region and a multi-dimensional marketization mechanism should be implemented to reinforce inter-regional payment for ecosystem services, which may pave the way for other regions or countries.
       
  • Developing a restoration narrative: A pathway towards system-wide healing
           and a restorative culture
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 168Author(s): James Blignaut, James AronsonAbstractThe current generation of Homo sapiens is paying the bill for the foolishness of, among other things, the Ceteris paribus assumption which postulates that natural capital is infinite and the quality thereof constant. The outcome is an unprecedented ecological overshoot as well as rapid and widespread degradation and fragmentation of both ecological and social systems. Despite their international commitments, few nations currently pay more than lip-service to invest in the widely acknowledged need ö from economic as well as ecological perspectives ö to invest more heavily to assist the restoration and recovery of degraded ecosystems almost everywhere. There is good evidence from eight recently published meta-analyses of ecological restoration work done at over 1 400 sites, that show that human societies clearly benefit economically from ecological restoration and allied activities. Perversely ö or predictably ö global society’s indifference to or denial of this reality is short-sighted in the extreme, and flagrantly neglectful of future generations of all life on earth.We argue that the disjunction between the required and actual investment in restoration is attributable, in part, to both the dysfunction of our political economies and the fact that essentially all human and ecological systems are ‘wicked systems’ (i.e. complex and complicated, simultaneously). This in turn leads to ‘wicked problems’ for anyone concerned with making ecological restoration a part of daily life for the next generation.While rational, science-based observations, pilot studies, and modelling can help diagnose a wicked problem, and prescribe ways to launch and sustain large-scale and lasting ecological restoration and recovery of degraded ecosystems, this is patently not sufficient. Invariably people have varying beliefs about, and understanding of, the past, present, and future. This leads to ontological uncertainty when groups of disparate people try to work together on wicked problems, thanks to past conflict and trauma, and differing readings of what has happened, is happening, and may happen in the increasingly unknowable and unpredictable future. This uncertainty introduces risk in all human impacted systems. Scientists, especially those involved in ecological economics and ecological restoration, could help society cross this bridge of uncertainty towards a shared vision and action plan. Working together with people from varying inter-connected fields and disciplines, we call for greater use of structured dialogue, embedded within a restoration narrative, to nurture and promote a ‘restorative culture’.
       
  • The need for ecological ethics in a new ecological economics
    • Abstract: Publication date: March 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 169Author(s): Haydn Washington, Michelle MaloneyAbstractNeoclassical economics has been dominated by anthropocentrism. We argue that much of ecological economics (EE) is now also dominated by this. EE should now break-free from anthropocentrism, including the commodification of nature. We suggest a ‘new’ ecological economics which foregrounds an ecocentric worldview, ecological ethics and ecojustice. These can assist society to reach a truly sustainable future where it accepts nature’s intrinsic value and extends respect to the nonhuman world. Models associated with EE are considered in terms of their approach to ecological limits and equity, as well as ethics. The paper concludes the only EE model that comes close to foregrounding ecological ethics is the steady state economy. Most of the others explicitly (or implicitly) retain an anthropocentric bias. Four approaches to ‘moving forward’ are suggested: achieving ecocentrism; advocating Earth jurisprudence; supporting ecojustice; and dealing ethically with the commodification of nature. We argue that a rejuvenated EE should de-commodify nature. Hence we should consider ‘People’s Contributions to Nature’, rather than just ‘Nature’s Contributions to People’. For both practical and ethical reasons, the paper concludes that EE needs to reevaluate its worldview and ethics. A possible research agenda is suggested that could help integrate ecological ethics with ecological economics.
       
  • REDD+ measurement, reporting and verification – A cost trap'
           Implications for financing REDD+MRV costs by result-based payments
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 168Author(s): Michael Köhl, Prem Raj Neupane, Philip MundhenkAbstractThe REDD+ initiative applies a market-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The difference between the carbon stock of forests under historical deforestation and forest degradation rates and the actual C-stock achieved by forest conservation measures will be compensated financially. The difference in C-stocks is provided by a system of measurement, reporting and verification (MRV).We investigated trade-offs between costs and revenue of a REDD+ MRV system by applying a simulation study focusing on varying forest degradation intensities in natural forests. We showed the decisive influence of cost on the efficiency of REDD+. Resulting payments could be too low or even negative, especially in high forest low deforestation countries. Under current carbon process countries implementing REDD + activities need additional financial support for the development and implementation of MRV systems. We recommend that the optimization of the MRV design must meet accuracy and cost requirements. The optimization criterion for MRV systems should not be the highest possible accuracy, but the highest possible carbon credits. This contradicts the requirements for the greatest possible accuracy, as stipulated in the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) and Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s (FCPF) recommendations for action.
       
  • Economic benefits from plant species diversity in intensively managed
           grasslands
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 168Author(s): Sergei Schaub, Nina Buchmann, Andreas Lüscher, Robert FingerAbstractGrasslands cover a major share of the world’s agricultural area and are important for global food security. Plant species diversity in grasslands is known to increase and stabilize biomass yields. We economically evaluate these effects, using a rich dataset from 16 intensively managed grassland sites across Europe. We extend earlier research by accounting for plant species diversity effects on both quantity and quality of yields. Consequently, we can express plant species diversity effects in terms of milk production potential yields per hectare and potential revenues thereof. Plant species diversity not only increased milk production potential yields and thus revenues, but also reduced production risks. Thus, increasing plant species diversity resulted in higher certainty equivalents, for example, the certainty equivalent rose by +29% when comparing the average mixture to the average monoculture. For risk averse decision makers, this gain in certainty equivalent was mainly due to the increase in revenues (accounting for 90%) compared to the total insurance value (accounting for 10%). Overall, we show that farmers benefit economically from plant species diversity and that even a moderate increase in this diversity contributes to more stable grassland-based production. Thus, our results are highly relevant for future sustainable intensification of grassland-based production.
       
  • Ecological economics in 2049: Getting beyond the argument culture to the
           world we all want
    • Abstract: Publication date: February 2020Source: Ecological Economics, Volume 168Author(s): Robert CostanzaAbstractEcological economics (EE) was originally envisioned as a transdiscipline with the following core characteristics and goals: (1) a focus on the primary goal of sustainable wellbeing of both humans and the rest of nature; (2) three broad sub-goals of sustainable scale, fair distribution, and efficient allocation. (3) intelligent pluralism and integration across disciplines, rather than territorial disciplinary differentiation; (4) concern with the functioning of the interdependent system of humans embedded in the rest of nature from an evolutionary, whole systems perspective; (5) an emphasis on the development of valuation techniques that build on a broad understanding of the interaction of built, human, social and natural capital to produce sustainable wellbeing. These characteristics and goals make ecological economics applicable to some of the major problems facing humanity today, and especially to the problem of improving humanity’s wellbeing and assuring its survival within the biosphere. Going forward EE must move further beyond the argument culture to finally become the meta-paradigm that it was originally envisioned to be. It can use its tools and vision to enable society to overcome its addiction to the current unsustainable growth paradigm and make the transition to the world we all want.
       
 
 
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