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The Economics of Biodiversity Loss


The Economics of Biodiversity Loss

This scoping study aims at identifying gaps in knowledge about the economics of biodiversity loss and makes suggestions for future research. It is a component of a larger Review on Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) prepared for the COP-9 meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which took place in May 2008 in Bonn.

The scoping study consists of two parts:

  1. an analysis of a call for evidence issued by the European Commission and
  2. a workshop, which was organised by Ecologic. 

The workshop on the Review of the Economics of the Global Loss of Biological Diversity was organised by Ecologic Institute on behalf of the European Commission's DG Environment and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). It brought together more than 80 experts in economics and ecology from more than 20 countries and several supranational institutions in order to explore approaches for estimating the economic significance of the loss of biodiversity and related ecosystem services.

Building on evidence provided by scientific research through a call for evidence by the European Commission, the workshop developed recommendations on the way forward for the Review. The Review will be conducted in two phases, with a preparatory phase running up to the Ninth Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-9) in May 2008, and a more substantial phase until 2009, under the responsibility of the appointed Review leader, Pavan Sukhdev.

The conclusions of the workshop were incorporated into a discussion paper. This paper concludes that while methods have been developed and used widely for some environmental values (especially market values as well as recreation and amenity), there are still several gaps in the literature. Notable among these are the valuation of loss of species other than headline species, marine ecosystems, cultural and spiritual values, and the dynamic aspects of all ecosystems and values.

Furthermore, it became evident that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is now recognised as a key reference for assessing the economics of biodiversity loss and is referred to in many papers, but its applications is incompletely dealt with in the scientific evidence reviewed.

The final report Phase I [scoping]. Economic analysis and synthesis can be downloaded from the Europa website.

European Commission, Directorate-General Environment (DG Environment)
VU University Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), Netherlands
GHK (GHK), United Kingdom
January 2008 to May 2008
Project ID
Biodiversity, ecosystem services, environmental economics, integration, sustainable development, Europe, global