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Quantification of the indirect use value of functional group diversity based on the ecological role of species in the ecosystem

July 31, 2018

An important issue in biodiversity valuation is gaining a better understanding of how biodiversity conservation affects economic activities and human welfare. Quantifying the economic benefits of biodiversity for human well-being is not straightforward. Here, we expand the ecosystem service cascade by (i) attributing a methodology to the different steps of the cascade to assess the effects of changes in functional group diversity on economic activities; (ii) including multiple attributes for defining functional diversity and (iii) integrating a dynamic ecological model simulating complex interactions and feedbacks between species with an economic model assessing the effects of changes in functional group diversity for gross revenues. The stepwise methodological framework integrates a production function approach with a market price-based approach in order to investigate the indirect use value of functional group diversity based on the ecological role of species in the ecosystem. The methodology is applied to estimate the relationship between the gross economic value of Chinook salmon (Pacific Northwest, United States) and the diversity of freshwater macroinvertebrates. The results of our analysis emphasize the importance of biological diversity for sustaining ecosystem goods and services.
The analysis provides a tractable framework for quantitatively exploring the economic consequences of changes in functional group diversity.