Pricing Nature

Posted: 18 May 2012

See all articles by Edward B. Barbier

Edward B. Barbier

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2011


The growing literature on ecosystem services suggests that these benefits are the direct or indirect contributions that ecosystems make to the well-being of human populations. Although the approach to valuing ecosystem services seems straightforward, in practice there are a number of challenges. The majority of ecosystem services are not marketed, and it is often difficult to determine how changes in ecosystem structure, functions, and processes influence the quantities and qualities of ecosystem service flows to people. Only when these difficulties are overcome is it possible to use existing valuation methods to assess the impact on human wellbeing that results from a change in ecosystem services. The example of wetland ecosystems and case studies from developing economies, the United States, and Europe are discussed to illustrate these issues involved in pricing nature.

Keywords: ecological function, ecosystem services, nonmarket value

JEL Classification: Q51, Q57

Suggested Citation

Barbier, Edward B., Pricing Nature (2011). Annual Review of Resource Economics, Vol. 3:337-353, 2011, Available at SSRN:

Edward B. Barbier (Contact Author)

Colorado State University, Fort Collins - Department of Economics ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

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