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The Economic Role of High Species Diversity in an Ecosystem

An important issue in biodiversity valuation is gaining a better understanding of how biodiversity conservation affects economic activities and human welfare.

University, USFS, and USGS researchers present an approach to quantify the effects of changes in non–marketable species diversity and their impact on economic activities. Using to Pacific Northwest Chinook salmon and aquatic macroinvertebrate prey diversity, the researchers applied a stepwise framework integrating an ecological model simulating complex interactions between species with an economic model assessing the effects of changes in functional group diversity for gross revenues. They found a potential for grave economic consequences from the loss of freshwater biodiversity for the commercial salmon fishing industry. The decrease in species diversity resulted in nonlinear losses with relatively higher losses under lower species diversity. The results also suggest that ecosystems with higher macroinvertebrate diversity may be more resilient to environmental alterations than those with already low diversity.


Daniels, S., Bellmore, J.R., Benjamin, J.R., Witters, N., Vangronsveld, J., Van Passel, S., 2017, Quantification of the Indirect Use Value of Functional Group Diversity Based on the Ecological Role of Species in the Ecosystem: Ecological Economics, v. 153, p. 181-194,

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