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Why Birds Matter Economically

Why Birds Matter Economically

Values, Markets, and Policies

(p.27) Chapter Two Why Birds Matter Economically
Why Birds Matter
Matthew D. JohnsonSteven C. Hackett
University of Chicago Press

Birds are valuable intrinsically and instrumentally. Their instrumental values include use values, such as for hunting purposes, and non-use-values, such as for recreation, aesthetic value, and for delivering ecosystem services that help sustain and fulfill human life. If ornithologists, conservations, and economists can help individuals and institutions recognize the value of birds, this will increase investments in bird conservation while fostering human well-being. A surge in interest in environmental and ecological economics has thrust ecosystem services to the forefront of conservation science and policy, and ornithologists must engage in this work to advance bird conservation effectively. Documenting the values and services of birds is necessary for deliberative decision-making processes that collectively weigh economic, cultural, and intrinsic values. Here, we describe methods to quantify the economic value of biodiversity drawn from the field of environmental economics, and we briefly review several examples involving birds. Policies for markets and/or payments for bird services are still in their infancy, but we review how policies of other public ecosystem services have progressed and we discuss their relevance to bird conservation. Lastly, we identify directions for future ecological and economic research that may lead to advances in bird conservation policy.

Keywords:   ecosystem services, commodification, ethics, values, monetization, valuation

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