TBL-CBA Trap #9: Ignoring the Vast Collection of Ecosystem Services Research

by | May 28, 2018 | Economics, Sustainability

Number 9 in our TBL-CBA traps series.

9.      Ignoring the Vast Collection of Ecosystem Services Research

A lot of smart people have spent a lot of time over the last two decades putting values on ecosystem goods and services (e.g. clean air, fresh water, habitat protection). There has been an explosion of research and growing consensus and convergence in these values.

Graph Source: Cumulative total of ecosystem services valuation studies sourced from EVRI from 1960 to 2008. Rudolf de Groot, Luke Brander, Sander van der Ploeg, Robert Costanza, Florence Bernard, Leon Braat, Mike Christie, Neville Crossman, Andrea Ghermandi, Lars Hein, Salman Hussain, Pushpam Kumar, Alistair McVittie, Rosimeiry Portela, Luis C. Rodriguez, Patrick ten Brink, Pieter van Beukering, Global estimates of the value of ecosystems and their services in monetary units, Ecosystem Services, Volume 1, Issue 1, July 2012, Pages 50-61, ISSN 2212-0416, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2012.07.005. (//www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212041612000101)  Source: modified from M. Christie, I. Fazey, R. Cooper, T. Hyde, A. Deri, L. Hughes, G. Bush, L. Brander, A. Nahman, W. de Lange, B. Reyers “An Evaluation of Economic and Non-economic Techniques for Assessing the Importance of Biodiversity to People in Developing Countries” Defra, London (2008)

Embarking on original research is always a good thing but it can be an unnecessary expense. Far better, we think, to stand on the shoulders of giants, learn from their research, scour all the research, but be selective and harness only the best and most relevant results for your purpose. Even this is very laborious if you do it correctly and do it frequently, but it’s certainly more attainable than sending your staff out to the field for years at a time.

Click here if you would like an infographic of the Top Ten TBL-CBA Traps.


Trap #1 – Re-inventing the wheel

Trap #2 – Forgetting Certain Stakeholders

Trap #3 – Double Counting

Trap #4 – Letting the Loudest Voice Win

Trap #5 – Asking “Are We Doing the Right Project?” but Forgetting “Are We Doing the Project Right?”

Trap #6 – Assuming it is Difficult and Expensive

Trap #7 – Tolerating False Precision

Trap #8 – Muddying the Waters between Impacts and Benefits


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