Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 782
Title: Assessing Benefit Transfer for the Valuation of Ecosystem Services
Author: M. Plummer
Publication Year: 2009
Journal: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Volume: 7
Issue: 1
Pages: 38-45
Abstract: The valuation of ecosystem services can play an important role in conservation planning and ecosystem-based management. Unfortunately, gathering primary, site-specific data is costly. As a result, a popular alternate method is to conduct a benefit transfer: applying economic value estimates from one location to a similar site in another location). Among the potential pitfalls of such an approach, the correspondence (or lack thereof) between the locations is probably the most important for evaluating the probable validity of the benefit transfer. A common type of benefit transfer in ecosystem service valuation applies an estimate of value per hectare to all areas having the same land-cover or habitat type, and is particularly susceptible to errors resulting from lack of correspondence. Enhancing the use of benefit transfers in this and other ecosystem service applications requires paying closer attention to simple guidelines, developed by economists, for improving validity and accuracy.
Official Citation: Plummer, M.L. 2009. Assessing benefit transfer for the valuation of ecosystem services. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7(1): 3845.